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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

UC lecturer strike canceled

The planned two-day, statewide strike organized by UC-AFT was called off after reaching a tentative agreement with the UC

By JENNIFER MA — campus@theaggie.org 

In the early hours of Nov. 17, UC-AFT announced that the lecturer strike, which was supposed to be on Nov. 17 and 18, was canceled. The union had reached a tentative agreement with the UC after over two years of negotiations. 

While the agreement only outlines preliminary details, the new contract includes job security, improved compensation for all lecturers and annual cost-of-living adjustments for each year specified. It also resolves the two Unfair Labor Practice charges that prompted the strike. 

The strike initially included a halt in instruction, a suspension of office hours and a refrain from classwork including grading and responding to emails. Those who teach remotely were asked to turn off access to their websites. According to the union, the strike was a result of bad faith bargaining and multiple unfair labor practices committed by UC President Michael Drake and his administration.  

The picket line locations that had been designated for the strike were utilized for celebratory rallies at noon on Nov. 17. 

Sean McDonnell, a continuing University Writing Program (UWP) lecturer, shared his initial reaction to learning about the new contract.  

“It’s a feeling of joy just to have this happen but also, to see how hard so many people have worked. Everyone who works for the union is a volunteer and so they’re working for the benefit of other people,” McDonnell said.

Other lecturers stated that they were pleased with the result, but many of them were not surprised that the UC gave into UC-AFT’s demands. 

 “What happened is [the UC], in my opinion, wound up all alone,” said John Rundin, a lecturer and the vice president of the UC-AFT Davis Chapter. “The largely political class in Sacramento had abandoned them. The students at ASUCD [and] College Democrats were very big in their support. [The UC] had no one to support them.”

Previously, Ash Kalra, a California State Assembly member who leads the Assembly’s committee on labor and employment, wrote a letter signed by 12 other members pressuring Drake to settle the dispute. Kalra was scheduled to speak at the picket line at UC Davis on Wednesday before it was canceled. 

On the day after the strike authorization vote, the Council of UC Faculty Associations, which represents professors, also voiced its solidarity by sending a letter to Drake and stated that nearly 800 of its members would refuse to cross picket lines.

Katie Rodger, the internship coordinator of the UWP and the president of the UC-AFT Davis Chapter, said she feels gratitude for the tremendous amount of support received. 

“When we fight, we win,” Rodger said. “When we all stand together, we can actually make big things happen.”

Written by: Jennifer Ma — campus@theaggie.org


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