CALIFORNIA (KTXL) — Two of the four striking unions representing academic workers at University of California campuses have reached tentative agreements with the college.
Unions representing academic researchers and postdoctoral scholars won five-year contracts that include new or improved benefits on a number of issues including pay, transit, benefits for international workers, and childcare.
Unions representing academic student employees and student researchers are still working out new contracts with the university.
“We are proud to have reached agreements that address the soaring cost of living, and reflect the value of our contributions at UC,” said Neal Sweeney, President of UAW Local 5810. “These agreements represent a new, best-in-class model that will improve quality of life – and the quality of research – for scientists across the US.”
The university said it was also glad to have found common ground with the union.
“Our dedicated colleagues are vital to UC’s research activities and we are very pleased to have reached agreements that honor their many important contributions,” said Letitia Silas, executive director of systemwide labor relations. “These agreements also uphold our tradition of supporting these employees with compensation and benefits packages that are among the best in the country.”
Now that a tentative agreement has been reached between the university and the union representatives, workers must next vote on whether to accept the proposal or reject it and continue striking.
Here is some of what the new contracts offer.
The union said that under the agreement, most postdoctoral students would receive a more than 20% increase in pay by October 2023. The lowest-paid postdoctoral students would see a $12,000 pay increase by October 2023.
According to the university, academic workers would receive a 4.5% raise in the first year of the contract, 3.5 % the next three years and 4% in the last year.
Postdoctoral researchers would be eligible for $2500 in reimbursements for childcare costs in 2023 and that amount would increase by $100 a year through 2026.
Representatives for academic researchers withdrew requests for childcare benefits earlier this month.
Under the proposed agreement, postdoctoral scholars would get an additional 4 weeks of 100% paid parental leave in addition to the 4 weeks they already received.
Academic researchers, who already had 8 weeks of parental leave got the pay for that time increased from 70% of their regular paycheck to 100%.
Under both of the proposed agreements, the university would arrange for postdoctoral researchers to get a 15% discount on discount on e-bikes. The university also agreed to make pre-tax programs available to workers and to negotiate reduced- or no-fee access to public transit within three years.
Postdoctorate researchers would get leave time for handling federal immigration appointments and hearings for the researcher themselves, their spouse, their domestic partner, their child or their parent.
Academic researchers seemingly did not gain similar new benefits for international workers.
While workers vote on whether to accept the agreements, academic researchers and postdoctoral students will remain on strike in support of the academic student employees and student researchers, who are still negotiating with the university.