Nearly a week into UC strike, little bargaining progress, but support for workers grows
By: Jeff Green
December 6, 2016
The strike by University of California students has reached a critical stage, with both sides now bargaining for the first time in nearly a month.
After five days of talks during which little bargaining progress was made, the UC system’s bargaining team will meet with the union’s top negotiator, Daniel Castro, on Friday. Then on Saturday, a UC regent who serves as the labor relations adviser to the system’s president will be in UC Berkeley to meet with the union’s strike negotiator, David Jones, and several other faculty groups, in an attempt to find some common ground.
“At this point, we don’t expect to have an agreement,” said Richard Berkley, a regent and labor relations adviser for UC president Janet Napolitano. “Any agreement we might get would probably be a stopgap and we’re not going to make any concessions.”
The UC system’s negotiations are aimed at ending a strike that has disrupted classes and delayed appointments at more than a dozen universities since mid-September, even as thousands of faculty and students continue to protest the labor practices of UC’s chief executives and the system’s refusal to negotiate with the union.
For the past three weeks, the university system has continued its attempts to negotiate a new contract with the Service Employees International Union Local 3, or SEIU 3. But on Dec. 5, the union and the university system struck after both sides refused to meet on the issue of class sizes. Union president Sandra Torres issued a demand that the administration agree to a 15-year contract that would include “reasonable” class sizes across all campuses. The negotiations have been ongoing since Sept. 30.
Although the UC system’s negotiations with the union are not the first time the administration and the union had to deal with the issue, the situation has been tense since the start of the strike, particularly as the university system has been forced to move hundreds of classes that were set to take place