Thursday, March 16, 2000
Brad Hayward (510) 987-9195


The United Auto Workers union announced today (March 16) that it is calling off a previously announced strike tomorrow by teaching assistants, readers, tutors and other academic student employees at University of California campuses.

"We are pleased that the UAW has chosen to focus on productive negotiations at the bargaining table rather than a disruptive strike," said UC President Richard C. Atkinson. "We continue to be committed to serious, good-faith negotiations with the goal of reaching a contract."

Both parties agreed to non-binding voluntary mediation in their contract negotiations. This means that a neutral third party will participate in systemwide negotiations for a period of three weeks and assist the parties in making progress toward agreement. Marty Morgenstern, director of the state Department of Personnel Administration, will serve as the mediator. Campus negotiations will be suspended as needed during this mediation process.
The union agreed to bargain in good faith and focus on the language to be incorporated into the contract. The university agreed to issue a letter to faculty and campus academic administrators reiterating the university’s full intention to comply with its legal obligations under the state Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act during the bargaining.
Atkinson thanked state Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, D-San Francisco, and Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa, D-Los Angeles, for facilitating the agreement by which the UAW called off its strike. He also thanked Gov. Gray Davis for making Morgenstern available to mediate the negotiations.

Late Wednesday (March 15), the university filed an unfair-labor-practice charge against the UAW with the state Public Employment Relations Board (PERB). The filing charged that the UAW had hindered progress toward a contract by engaging in "surface bargaining," refusing to bargain, failing to make proposals, refusing to meet, engaging in regressive bargaining and threatening a strike. The union will be given an opportunity to respond to the charge, then PERB will make a determination on it.
"We now hope that we can move past the previous obstacles and make progress toward a contract," Atkinson said. "We also continue to hope that we can build a productive working relationship with the UAW."
The UAW represents about 9,300 academic student employees on UC’s eight general campuses. Systemwide contract negotiations began in September 1999.

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