ARU and UC Bargaining Position Comparison

It’s been almost a year since a majority of all UC Academic Researchers elected to form our union – more than enough time to bargain a fair contract. Yet due to UC’s delays, like failing to recognize ARU/UAW 5810 for almost six months and withholding our July 1 pay increases, we are still without a contract after ten bargaining sessions. Below is a summary of ARU and UC’s positions on all outstanding issues. Please take a look at the chart below (you can also view and print a PDF version here), and as always please feel welcome to reach out with questions or feedback.

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.
Leaves 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.

Tentative Agreements

Article Summary
Corrective Action and Dismissal ARs may not be fired or disciplined arbitrarily and without “just cause.” UC must establish a compelling justification for an AR to be terminated or disciplined.
Health and Safety ARs have the right to health and safety training, to the proper safety equipment, to refuse a hazardous assignment until it has been remedied or determined to be safe, and to access safe operating procedures and legally-required safety records for chemicals, substances and equipment.
Holidays ARs are not required to work on the 13 university holidays. 
Labor-Management Meetings Outlines process for scheduling labor-management meetings.
Management and Academic Rights Outlines managerial rights of the University, except as modified by other parts of the contract.
Parking and Transportation Limits annual parking rate increases to specified fee caps.
Past Practices Existing AR working conditions shall remain in effect, unless modified in the contract. 
Personnel Files Establishes an AR’s right to access their personnel files.
Reasonable Accommodation Provides a process to accommodate to ARs who have a disability in accordance with applicable law.
Recognition Establishes Academic Researchers United / UAW 5810 as the union representing Project Scientists, Specialists, Professional Researchers and CPPs.
Severability If a portion of the contract is nullified due to changes in the law, then that provision (and only that provision) is no longer in effect.
Sick Leave Sick leave accrues at a rate of 1 day per month. Sick days can also be used for other types of leave (e.g., childbearing, family illness).
Time and Effort Commitment Establishes policies for ARs who are paid hourly (in accordance with Federal law).
Training The University shall provide paid time to attend required training, workshops, and courses.
Travel Reimbursement The University must reimburse ARs for required travel, and may not deny discretionary travel for arbitrary reasons.
Union Access and Rights Ensures that all new ARs receive a union orientation to learn about their rights and benefits.
Vacation Vacation accrues at a rate of 2 days per month. The University shall not unreasonably deny an AR’s request for vacation. Vacation can also be used for various forms of leave such as childbearing, parental, medical, etc.
Waiver If the University would like to change a policy that impacts ARs, it must provide 30 days notice and union has the right to bargain over any changes.
Work-Incurred Injury and Illness Covers an AR’s right to pay, benefits and leave time if they are injured at work