Members of the ARU Bargaining Team during today’s session.

We met again with UC for three days this week (Sept 23-25) at UC Office of the President in Oakland. At this session we discussed and passed proposals on four major areas: Compensation, Layoff and Reduction in Time, Union Security, and the title series articles (Specialist, Project Scientist, and Professional Researchers). For compensation, we provided data about the competitiveness (or lack thereof) of AR wages as compared to other similar public universities. We made some progress, which is reflected in the chart below; however, there were no new Tentative Agreements. Bargaining on the first two days went into the night, but we spent most of that time waiting for UC to pass counter proposals.

Our next bargaining dates are October 10-11 at UC Irvine. We still have not received proposals from UC on several major issues including Bridge Funding, Abusive Conduct, and Paid Parental Leave. We are committed to reach a contract agreement by October — to do that we must continue to demonstrate through majority collective action that ARs are committed to winning a fair contract!

Topic ARU Position UC Position
Wages Analysis of salary data shows that UC AR wages are 38% less than AR-like positions at similar Universities (note: 38% includes cost of living).

In a 2-year contract, 6% salary increase effective July 1, 2019 and an 8% salary increase effective July 1, 2020. Nothing shall prevent UC from paying an AR off scale.

Claims UC AR salaries are at market rates but has not evaluated salary data.

3% salary increase 60 days after contract ratification.

2% salary increase for 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024.

Bridge Funding ARs who become PIs are eligible for bridge funding after 2 years. Bridge funding provides up to $200,000 for 1 year and eligibility renews every 5 years. No proposal.


12 weeks of paid leave for all new parents, equal to what UCSF faculty receive. No paid parental leave other than accrued sick and vacation days.
Abusive Conduct and Microaggressions ARs should have clear and enforceable protections to stop Abusive Conduct and Microaggressions. No proposal.
Promotion and Merit increases At least 1-step merit increase at end of normal time in a pay step (2 – 3 years for most ARs, 1 year for Jr. Specialists).

ARs receive notification of when they are eligible for merit or promotion review, including timelines, materials for which they are responsible, and campus policies. Campus policies must be comprehensive and complete.

Initial pay step for a new AR appointment must take into account past experience (e.g., Postdoctoral or Industry experience)

Ensure search waivers are granted prevent delays for ARs moving between title series.

No assurance of step increases.

ARs receive notification of when they are eligible for merit or promotion review, including timelines, materials for which they are responsible, and campus policies.

No assurance that ARs will be initially appointed to appropriate titles and pay steps.

PI status Most Specialists and all Project Scientists may become PIs with campus approval and UC must maintain and post clear policies. 

Professional Researchers may always become PIs. 

No changes from the status quo
Appointments Minimum appointments that match the normal time in a pay step (2 – 3 years for most ARs). This will allow for greater stability and avoid delays due to visa renewal or disruptions in pay and benefits.

UC must provide notice and a reason when an AR is not reappointed.

No minimum appointment length.
International ARs UC must reimburse ARs for delays in visa processing; in many cases these delays have forced ARs to go months without pay. No changes from status quo.
Layoff Layoff only for lack of funds. Layoff may be due to lack of work, programmatic change, or lack of funds.
Benefits Maintain current AR health and retirement benefits. 

Allow ARs who previously worked as UC Postdocs to buy UCRP service credits. Access to housing programs on the same basis as other academic employees, including Senate Faculty.

No changes from status quo.
Grievance and Arbitration A fair, expedient, and transparent grievance and arbitration process designed to solve problems quickly. Allow AR grievances to be rejected for minor technicalities or delayed for long periods, which   will prevent expedient and fair resolutions.
Nondiscrimination Strong survivor-centered protections from discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault, including the right to use the Grievance and Arbitration process. An AR has the right to interim measures and strong remedies to allow their research to continue in a safe environment. Allow harassment and discrimination grievances to go on for unreasonably long periods of time.