UC Librarians Fight for Respect

UC-AFT librarians continue to fight for respect and much needed academic reforms to their contract, which will expire on September 30. Across the country, higher education communities are standing with UC-AFT Librarians’ rights to academic freedom, improved conditions for temporary workers, and competitive salaries.
At the April 24 bargaining meeting, UC-AFT presented a proposal which guarantees academic freedom to all librarians, so that they may fulfill their responsibilities for teaching, scholarship, and research. UC negotiators responded with a flat NO at the July 26 bargaining meeting, stating that “academic freedom is not a good fit for your unit.”
In response, the California Conference of the American Association of University Professors (CA-AAUP) and the Council of University of California Faculty Associations (CUCFA) issued a Joint Letter in Support of Librarian Academic Freedom,1 which was sent to President Napolitano and the UC Board of Regents. They urged “UC President Napolitano to instruct UC negotiators to grant academic freedom to university librarians as they rightly deserve and have requested.” UC librarians also created a petition to support their demand that academic freedom be explicitly recognized in their contract.2
The practice of hiring temporary librarians to perform permanent work is all too common at campuses such as UCLA. UC-AFT is fighting for contract changes that make this temporary option less pervasive, while protecting the rights of these valued colleagues. Hundreds of librarians, archivists, students, and faculty spanning the globe have signed a letter of support,3 demanding a more consistent, sustainable hiring practice for UC temporary librarians.
On August 28th at UCSD, UC-AFT will propose a comprehensive salary and professional development plan at the bargaining table. UC librarians seek to narrow the massive pay gap between their salaries and two comparable academic peer groups: librarians in the California State University (CSU) system and librarians employed at institutions identified by the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) as the “Comparison 8,” used historically for comparative salary analysis across fields. UC librarians experience an average pay gap of 25% behind CSU librarians and at the entry level, an average pay gap of approximately 40% when compared to those Comparison 8 campuses.

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