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Monday, December 14, 199
Brad Hayward (510) 987-9195

Re. Public Employment Relations Board decision in UCLA graduate assistant's case

University of California General Counsel and Vice President for Legal Affairs James E. Holst issued the following statement today (Dec. 14) addressing the decision by the state Public Employment Relations Board regarding the employment status of student academic appointees at UCLA.

James E. Holst
General Counsel and Vice President -- Legal Affairs
University of California

The state Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act contemplates that collective bargaining on the part of student academic appointees may be appropriate in some cases and not appropriate in others. With respect to collective bargaining for graduate teaching assistants, we now have conflicting opinions issued by the California Court of Appeal and by the state Public Employment Relations Board.

The legal precedent that the University of California is operating under is a 1992 decision issued by the Court of Appeal in a case originating at the Berkeley campus. The court, in a decision that the California Supreme Court declined to review, found that collective bargaining for graduate teaching assistants would interfere with the goals of graduate education and would not further the university's mission of teaching, research and public service.

The university agrees with, and has abided by, that court decision. Now, in a 2-1 decision, PERB has reached a different conclusion with respect to graduate teaching assistants at the Los Angeles campus. We continue to believe that the court is the appropriate forum to resolve this issue. For that reason, we will ask PERB to certify to the courts its decision regarding graduate teaching assistants so that the appropriate judicial review may proceed.

The university previously announced its intention to extend collective bargaining to readers and tutors who select a union to be their exclusive representative according to state law. That decision is consistent with PERB's finding regarding readers and tutors at UCLA.

As President Atkinson has said previously, UC values the important contributions of graduate students and will continue to foster a dialogue aimed at identifying and addressing aspects of their relationship with the university that need improvement.

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