Sunday, October 13, 2019

Dear Colleague,

The Bargaining Team met with UC for the 11th bargaining session on October 11 and 12 in Irvine. We had many productive discussions, particularly on wages, paid parental leave and bridge funding, but have yet to see significant change in UC administration’s position. Unfortunately, UC also continues to insist on language that would allow researchers to be laid off for vague and ambiguous reasons like “lack of work” and has still not addressed the need to have effective processes for investigating and resolving cases of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and discrimination in a timely fashion.

There is a new section of the ARU website dedicated to educating the public and UC administration about the importance of bridge funding for independent researchers. Please check it out and share! You can also help amplify our message by liking ARU on Facebook and Twitter.

The next bargaining session is from October 22 – 25 in Oakland. The goal for both parties (Academic Researchers United and UC administration) is to reach tentative agreement on the full contract by the end of October. The participation of thousands of ARs has been essential to reaching this point, and we know mass participation will continue to be necessary throughout the weeks ahead in order to win a fair contract. Please contact us if you would like to get involved or if you have any questions.

An updated version of the bargaining positions chart is below. We did reach one tentative agreement at this bargaining session on a panel of arbitrators.

Topic ARU Position UC Position
Wages Analysis of salary data shows that UC AR wages are 32% less than AR-like positions at similar Universities (note: 32% includes cost of living).

In a 3-year contract, 6% salary increase effective 30 days following ratification, an 8% salary increase effective July 1, 2020, and a 10% salary increase effective July 1 2021.

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.

2.5% 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.

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.

In solidarity,

Academic Researchers United / UAW 5810 Bargaining Team

Andrea Anzalone, Project Scientist, UC Irvine
Gerard Ariño Estrada, Assistant Project Scientist, UC Davis
Angelo Demuro, Researcher, UC Irvine
Silvia Diaz-Perez, Associate Project Scientist, UCLA
Patrick Drake, Specialist, UC Santa Cruz
Mateusz Gola, Associate Researcher, UC San Diego
Royce Harner, Assistant Specialist, UC San Francisco
Christian Hofmann, Assistant Project Scientist, UCLA
Benjamin Lynch, Associate Researcher, UC Berkeley
Siyan Ma, Associate Specialist, UC Berkeley
Manash Paul, Project Scientist, UCLA
Christina Priest, Assistant Project Scientist, UCLA
David Quint, Associate Project Scientist, UC Merced
Michael Rich, Researcher, UCLA
Maike Roth, Assistant Specialist, UC San Francisco
Pascal Saint-Hilaire, Assistant Researcher, UC Berkeley
Lisa Schwarz, Assistant Researcher, UC Santa Cruz
Margaret Soucheray, Associate Specialist, UC San Francisco
Theo Tarver, Assistant Specialist, UC San Francisco
Fenfen Wu, Associate Project Scientist, UCLA