November 26, 2018
Contact: Jacob Burstein-Stern (206) 954-1938 /



Academic Researchers will be represented by Academic Researchers United / United Auto Workers Local 5810

Berkeley, CA – On November 15, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) found that a majority of UC Academic Researchers (Project Scientists, Specialists, Professional Researchers and Coordinators of Public Programs) have chosen to make Academic Researchers United (ARU) / UAW Local 5810 their exclusive union representative. The next step is for PERB to certify ARU / UAW 5810, after which Academic Researchers (ARs) will begin collective bargaining with UC administration.

ARU / UAW 5810 filed the representation petitions with the state labor board on September 28, 2018. UC ARs strongly supported unionizing, with approximately two thirds of UC’s almost 5,000 ARs signing cards authorizing ARU / UAW 5810 to represent them in collective bargaining with UC.

A majority of Academic Researchers are ready to make change at UC, and in turn, create an even better environment for our work and research – that’s why we formed a union. Our work is instrumental in attracting UC’s almost $6 billion in annual research revenue. But for too many of us, our pay, benefits and job security doesn’t match the contributions we make and too many of us struggle to get by or stay in academia in careers we love,” said Pascal Saint-Hilare, an Assistant Research Physicist at UC Berkeley who helped lead the effort to unionize.

“As a Postdoctoral Researcher at UC, I was active in UAW Local 5810 and saw how collective power enabled Postdocs to win better compensation, access to improved health care options and longer appointments to reduce research interruptions. I’m a Project Scientist now, and forming a union is the best way we can have an equal voice and achieve improvements for Academic Researchers at UC,” said Christina Priest, a UCLA researcher.

Academic Researchers are currently circulating a bargaining survey to determine their top priorities as they bargain to improve their working conditions. They will join the more than 6,500 Postdocs at UC who already enjoy the benefits of unionization, which include better wages, benefits and a stronger voice at work.

“UAW 5810 is proud to have been chosen by another group of academic employees who recognize UAW’s strong commitment to standing up for worker protections like job security for international workers and gender equality. We welcome UC Academic Researchers to our Local and look forward to the progress they will make by negotiating on equal footing with UC,” said UAW 5810 President Anke Schennink.

In the U.S., UAW represents 80,000 academic employees at more than 40 universities and colleges nationwide, including 18,000 Academic Student Employees (ASEs) —Teaching Assistants, Readers and Tutors—at the University of California as well as academic employees at California State University, University of Washington, Columbia University, NYU and University of Massachusetts.