FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 9, 2000
Brad Hayward (510) 987-9195
brad.hayward@ucop.edu


MEDIA ADVISORY

The University of California issued the following statements today (March 9) regarding its labor negotiations with the United Auto Workers.

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C. Judson King
Provost and Senior Vice President-Academic Affairs
University of California

The United Auto Workers union recently announced and began holding strike authorization votes for teaching assistants, readers, tutors and other specified academic student employees at University of California campuses.

I want to assure the UC community and the public that the University is committed to reaching a mutually agreeable contract resolution with the union and has been bargaining in good faith to achieve such an agreement. The University has been deeply and seriously engaged in the negotiation process. The University’s current offer would provide academic student employees with improvements in a number of areas, including salaries, fee remissions and overall working conditions. UC also is continuing to pursue the issue of health benefits enhancements.

The University continues to believe that a contract is achievable if both parties are committed to pursuing serious talks on the outstanding issues. A strike intended to disrupt undergraduate education will only delay and distract from the negotiation process. If a strike does occur, the University will do all it can to continue its regular instructional programs. In the end, however, a strike can only be harmful to the negotiations and to the undergraduate students who have entrusted the University with their education.

As the University’s chief academic administrator and a longtime UC faculty member, I know first-hand the important contributions of academic student employees to the University’s teaching mission. I also have a deep and abiding respect for the faculty, whose standards of academic excellence have made UC the leading public research university in the world today. Preserving the faculty’s decision-making role in the delivery of courses and curricula – a role delegated to them by The Regents – will remain a high priority for the University because it so directly impacts the quality of education that our students receive. We hope to reach an understanding with the United Auto Workers about these matters and continue developing a contract that allows the University to maintain and enhance the quality of its programs for the people of California.


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Lawrence B. Coleman
Chair, Academic Council
University of California

The University of California faculty respects and values academic student employees, who provide important instructional support to the University while also furthering their own education. The Academic Senate hopes that a contract between the University and the United Auto Workers union can be achieved in a timely manner, allowing all of us in the UC community to focus on the University’s mission of teaching, research and public service.

The University operates on a model of shared governance, and The Regents have delegated governance of academic courses and curricula to the Academic Senate. The faculty takes this responsibility seriously, as we recognize it is vital to ensuring that UC continues to offer world-class instructional programs and a rich, high-quality undergraduate experience.

UC has hundreds of academic departments, and each of them offers dozens of courses. There is tremendous variety in the structure and organization of these courses, as well as in the specific duties of the academic student employees appointed to them. The faculty members who design the curriculum take responsibility for how the courses are taught. In doing so, they are responsible for matters of academic judgment relevant to the work of academic student employees – including course content, mode of delivery, hiring criteria, and the assignment and scheduling of work within term workload limits. These kinds of decisions are key to the quality of our educational programs.

Academic student employees sometimes disagree with faculty members about how faculty decisions affect a student’s responsibilities. The University has academic processes in place to resolve disputes in these areas and has offered to include such a process in the contract with the UAW. But third-party arbitration by individuals outside the authority of the Academic Senate, as sought by the UAW, could lead to an abridgement of the faculty’s responsibility for the conduct of courses and curricula. This is a major concern to the faculty.

We hope that an amicable resolution with the UAW can be reached in a timely manner.

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