UC strike: Postdoctoral scholars, researchers reach tentative deal

In a significant breakthrough, University of California postdocs and academic researchers have reached a tentative agreement over higher wages and cost of living but will not return to work in solidarity with some 36,000 graduate student workers who remain on strike, the union announced Tuesday .

“We are proud to have entered into agreements that address the rising cost of living and reflect the value of our contributions to UC,” said Neal Sweeney, president of UAW Local 5810, in a statement. “These agreements represent a new, best-in-class model that will improve the quality of life – and the quality of research – for scientists in the United States. It is now time for UC to make serious proposals to academic student staff and student researchers and to make fair agreements that recognize the contributions of those workers.”

The postdocs and academic researchers represent about 12,000 of the 48,000 union members who launched the nation’s largest strike by academic workers three weeks ago. The teaching assistants, tutors and researchers of the two other negotiating units – UAW 2865 and SRU-UAW – remain on strike. These employees do much of the critical work, leading discussion sections, leading labs, grading assignments, and administering exams.

The breakthrough is not expected to significantly change the uncertainty at universities system-wide about how to handle grading and final exams as the fall semesters draw to a close.

For postdocs, the preliminary agreement includes:

— A pay rise of 20% to 23% (up to $12,000) through October 2023 for most union members. The current lowest postdoctoral fellow would receive a 57% increase over five years.
—Annual increases of 7.2% for postdocs at the scale level and 3% for those above scales for 2024-2027.
—Increasing paid parental and family leave by four weeks to eight weeks.
– Childcare grants, which will start at $2,500 annually and increase to $2,800 annually – their first such grant.
—Longer employment for more job security, better protection against bullying and for workers with disabilities.
—Transportation benefits, including a promise of free transit passes within three years and 15% e-bike discount.

For academic researchers, the agreement includes an average salary increase of 29% over the five-year contract. They also get eight weeks of paid family leave, longer appointments for better job security, improved transportation services and more protections from bullying and for workers with disabilities.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-11-29/uc-strike-postdocs-researchers-reach-tentative-deal-but-will-honor-pickets UC strike: Postdoctoral scholars, researchers reach tentative deal

Alley Einstein

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