Fifteen years ago, when they first organized, most UC Postdocs expected to join UAW Local 2865. At the time, some now-disgraced former leaders of the International UAW felt threatened by the idea of a large, progressive union of academic workers on the West Coast, and instead placed Postdocs in a separate union: UAW Local 5810. Since then, some of those leaders have been stripped of their membership and criminally convicted of misusing our membership dues. As of last year, the 1,000,000 active and retired UAW members nationwide have finally won the right to directly elect our international union leadership, and the newly elected leaders have a new perspective.
Over the last four years, despite being part of separate unions, members of Locals 5810 and 2865 have worked more and more closely together. Now, UC academic workers will at last have the chance to revisit the merger of our two locals: from October 10 to 20, members will be voting on whether to amalgamate UAW 2865 and UAW 5810 into one big local union. The executive boards of both locals have voted unanimously to endorse amalgamation; you can read their statement here. This critical choice is now in the hands of every UAW member at UC to decide.
If the amalgamation vote passes, the members’ decision will be sent to the UAW International Executive Board for final approval.
The rank-and-file members and elected officers on the joint UAW 2865 / UAW 5810 Amalgamation Committee will be holding two statewide webinars today (9/12) from 5-6 pm PST and tomorrow (9/13) from 9-10 am PST to present information about amalgamation and answer feedback prior to the October vote. Please click below to register for one of these town halls.
The amalgamation referendum is not the only news in academic worker union mergers. On September 8, the California Public Employee Relations Board issued a preliminary ruling siding with academic workers and ordering UC to show cause for their objections to the merger of the ASE and GSR units, which union members voted in favor of at a Statewide Membership back in January. UC would prefer that the ASE and GSR stay separate, and they objected to workers’ decision in June. This PERB ruling is the first step toward overcoming UC’s objections.
Head Steward, UAW 2865 Davis
Food Science Graduate Group, UC Davis
Postdoc Head Steward, UAW 5810 Los Angeles
Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, UCLA