To: Academic Senate Faculty
We are writing to update faculty on issues related to the UAW strike called for November 14, 2022.
First, some background. The strike includes four bargaining units comprised of academic appointees: 1) Academic Student Employees (TAs/Readers/Tutors); 2) Postdoctoral Scholars; 3) Academic Researchers (Specialists/Project Scientists/Professional Researchers); and 4) Graduate Student Researchers (GSRs, including some on training grants and external fellowships). The University of California’s contracts with several of these groups expired on October 31, and the first GSR contract is under negotiation. The UAW membership conducted a strike authorization vote that ended November 2, and the large majority of members voted to authorize a strike. The university Administration and the union are negotiating the four contracts.
The Academic Senate and faculty are not involved in the negotiations between the University of California Administration and the union.
The Academic Senate, in advancing the academic mission of teaching, research, and service, supports the learning and well-being of all students, graduate and undergraduate, as well as trainees. Graduate students play an essential role in research and teaching at the University of California, and the Academic Senate has recognized that the current graduate funding model is broken. We also support Senate members as we faculty navigate a possible strike that will affect both our teaching and our research.
Faculty are raising many questions about the strike, including whether to perform struck work and whether they have the right not to cross picket lines. It is imperative that faculty have flexibility in how they respond to the strike. Faculty must not be expected to take on additional labor if they choose not to do so.
At the intersection of research with education, a GSR strike at UCLA is unprecedented. It raises challenging questions about how to assess student research that is conducted for course credits and also as GSR labor. We sought clarification from the Office of the President of the University of California about options available to faculty, and we hope to convey their answers in the days to come.
For faculty who ask how to manage disruption to instruction, there is no one-size-fits-all response given the diversity of instruction on our campus. Faculty possess customary discretion and autonomy to adapt their courses to strike circumstances while honoring Academic Senate regulations. At this time changes to those regulations are not anticipated, though a lengthy strike would raise questions about regulations governing final exam format. About these and other strike-related matters, we welcome your input as we continue to work hard to find answers and solutions. We will keep you informed of any developments in the divisional or systemwide Academic Senate, and we urge you to communicate with enrolled students about change and continuity in your courses.
We are grateful for your commitment to our students and colleagues and to the academic mission, especially as we remain concerned about the pandemic’s heavy and uneven toll on faculty and recognize the acute need to address faculty workload, rebuilding, and renewal.
Chair, Academic Senate
Vice Chair/Chair-Elect, Academic Senate
Immediate Past Chair, Academic Senate
Chair, Undergraduate Council
Chair, Graduate Council
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