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UC Lecturers Avoid Strike, Reach Deal After Two Years of Negotiations

A red-brick building has two towers on either side of an arched entry. Students sit and stand on campus walkways in the foreground.
UCLA, one of the state universities affected rising tuitions, photographed in March 2020.
(Robyn Beck
AFP via Getty Images)
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Lecturers for the University of California woke up Wednesday morning expecting to go on strike, but ended up with cause to celebrate.

After a marathon late-night session, the union representing non-tenured professors and some other faculty members announced that it has reached a tentative contract agreement with the UC system.

A statement from the union says that it "revolutionizes the first six years of a lecturer's career at the UC."

The union had been negotiating a new contract for more than two years. Leading up to the strike, the union had cited seven instances of unfair labor practices by UC leadership, including charges of bad-faith negotiations.

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The tentative new deal:

  • increases pay for all employees;
  • makes all lecturers eligible to receive four weeks of paid family leave;
  • offers "more opportunities for professional advancement"; and
  • adds annual cost-of-living adjustments for each year of the contract.

Union members will begin voting Friday on whether to accept the contract. If approved, it will go into effect in July 2022.

Protest Turns To Celebration

The University Council-American Federation of Teachers tweeted the announcement Wednesday morning, while indicating that the planned strikes would instead turn into celebrations across the nine UC campuses.

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UC-AFT represents more than 6,500 employees, and its lecturers teach about a third of undergraduates at any given time.

Tyson Roberts, a lecturer in political science at UCLA, assisted with phone banking to help organize the strike. He joined Wednesday's celebration after following negotiation updates the previous night and teaching in the morning.

"It’s just wonderful to feel like I’m valued as an instructor," he said. "I love teaching students, I love seeing them learn. But when we don’t have a contract that pays us and gives us some stability, it doesn’t make us feel as valued as we should be."

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Updated November 17, 2021 at 6:13 PM PST
This story was updated to include additional details of the deal, and to clarify Tyson Roberts' role in supporting the strike.