About UAW 5810
UAW Local 5810 is the union of more than 11,000 Postdoctoral Scholars and Academic Researchers at all 10 campuses of the University of California and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Through our union, Postdocs and ARs fight for social justice and negotiate collective bargaining agreements that determine our pay, benefits, rights, and protections. Postdocs and Academic Researchers run all aspects of the union including organizing their colleagues and serving as members of the bargaining team and elected statewide and campus officers.
Formation of UAW Local 5810 and the First Postdoc Contracts (2010-2016)
In 2005, a group of UC Postdoctoral Researchers, many of whom were previously members of UAW Local 2865 and other local unions representing academic student employees, began an organizing drive as Postdoctoral Researchers Organize/UAW or PRO/UAW. On August 19, 2008, the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) certified that a majority of UC Postdocs had signed cards choosing PRO/UAW as their union. Bargaining began in February 2009 and overcoming great attempts by UC to prevent an agreement, Postdocs ratified their first union contract in August 2010. In the years following, Postdocs negotiated two more contracts with UC, culminating in the precedent-setting 2016 agreement, in which UC Postdocs won a 10% pay increase (or, pay two steps above the NIH pay scale), guaranteed paid parental leave for all Postdocs, and stronger protections against sexual harassment. Also in 2016, 80% of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s 500 Postdocs signed authorization cards in favor of forming a union, and joined Local 5810.
Academic Researchers Join Local 5810
In 2017, shortly after Postdocs’ 2016 contract campaign, a group of UC Project Scientists, Specialists, Professional Researchers and Coordinators of Public Programs (known collectively as Academic Researchers or ARs) began a campaign to join UAW Local 5810. In November of 2018, ARs achieved majority support to form a union of all job titles and at all campuses. Academic Researchers United/UAW Local 5810 was certified and subsequently ARs began negotiating a first contract. In November of 2019, after UC was committing unfair labor practices and failing to bargain in good faith, ARs had no choice but to take a strike authorization vote. Academic Researchers were resoundingly in support: over 60% of ARs voted, and 96% of votes cast were in favor of strike authorization. Shortly thereafter, ARs reached agreement with UC on the first ever Academic Researcher union contract, which included on average a 24% wage increase over the life of the contract between salary scale increases and merit raises, longer guaranteed appointments, and a fair and expedient grievance procedure to resolve cases of discrimination and harassment, among other wins.
48,000 UC Workers Strong: 2022 Contract Campaign
In 2022, the 48,000 UC academic workers organized within UAW 5810, UAW 2865 (Teaching Assistants, Tutors, Readers) and the newly-formed Student Researchers United-UAW (SRU-UAW) coordinated our contract campaigns in an effort called Fair UC Now. We were bargaining four contracts with UC, and realized by coming together, we had an opportunity to unite our power with the winning groundbreaking improvements.
In October of 2022, after over a year of contract negotiations with UC, Academic Researchers and Postdocs voted to strike over myriad unfair labor practices committed by UC. Simultaneous to UAW 5810’s strike authorization votes, UAW 2865 and SRU-UAW voted to authorize their bargaining teams to call a strike as well. In November of 2022, after negotiations continued to fail to yield an agreement and UC continued to bargain in bad faith, over 48,000 Academic Researchers, Postdocs, Teaching Assistants and Student Researchers began the largest strike of the year, and the largest of Academic Workers in U.S. history. Across the state tens of thousands of workers engaged in daily pickets and other mass collective actions. Finally a month into the strike, Postdocs and ARs reached agreement with UC on historic contracts. Soon thereafter, UAW 2865 and SRU-UAW also reached agreement. The agreements make many historic gains including in compensation, childcare subsidies and paid leaves, and include groundbreaking new protections against bullying and discrimination.
Our Goals as a Union
At every opportunity, our union strives to uphold equity for all. We see our contracts as powerful tools we can use to ensure that academic workers are valued and empowered to fulfill the mission of UC as a truly public institution, and we strive to win economic and social justice for workers everywhere.