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UAW 5810 announces plans for ratification vote

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UAW 5810 and the university have reached a tentative agreement on a contract for postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers, but the ongoing labor strike continues as two of the four bargaining units have yet to reach an agreement.


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NOVEMBER 30, 2022

UAW 5810, the local union representing UC academic researchers and postdoctoral scholars, reached a tentative agreement with the University of California on a new five-year contract that will last until Sept. 30, 2027, if ratified by a simple majority of union-represented workers.

The UAW 5810 executive board has voted to hold ratification votes from Dec. 5 to 9, according to a Nov. 30 UC-UAW press release. Before the ratification votes, academic researchers and postdoctoral scholars will hold town halls to discuss the agreements they have reached. In the meantime, all four bargaining units — two of which have not yet reached an agreement — will continue striking.

“We remain on strike while the ratification process continues, and we think it’s now time for the university to make serious proposals to the 36,000 workers that remain on strike alongside us that are still bargaining — the academic student employees and student researcher bargaining units — so that we can reach fair agreements that recognize the really important contributions that our fellow workers make,” said UAW 5810 President Neal Sweeney during a press conference Tuesday.

The tentative agreement offers improvements in compensation, transit benefits and “progressive” language in its workplace safety articles, according to academic researcher and member of the UAW 5810 bargaining team, Stacey Frederick.

In addition, both contracts raise the floor for compensation, and the current lowest paid postdoctoral scholars would see a 57% salary increase in the next five years, according to a Nov. 29 union press release. In addition, the postdoctoral scholar contract sets up a new salary scale with annual increases and experience-based increases. Most postdoctoral scholars will see an increase of up to $12,000 in salary by October 2023, noted the union press release.

The press release adds that a typical academic researcher will have a 29% salary increase over the life of the new contract. This increase would come from both scale increases and merit increases.

“Our dedicated colleagues are vital to UC’s research activities and we are very pleased to have reached agreements that honor their many important contributions,” said Letitia Silas, executive director of systemwide labor relations, in a Nov. 29 UC Office of the President press release. “These agreements also uphold our tradition of supporting these employees with compensation and benefits packages that are among the best in the country.”

According to UAW 2865 bargaining team member Kai Yui Samuel Chan, the tentative agreement should put pressure on the university to bargain in good faith with the other two units.

One of the university’s reasons for not presenting timely proposals to the graduate students, Chan said, has been that they are busy negotiating with the postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers.

“We do think that these upcoming days are pivotal for the UC to come to table and assent to a fair contract because on quarter campuses, it’s finals next week and on semester campuses, it’s finals two weeks from now,” Chan said. “I know a lot of faculty have made a commitment to not do struck work for academic student employees, or ASEs. So, if the university, especially the university leadership, does care about students being able to get the evaluation they deserve, they should come right now and in good faith and make serious movements on their side so we can settle on a fair contract.”

UAW 2865 received proposals from the university today, Chan said. While the bargaining teams have made progress on issues like appointment notification and summer session job security, the outstanding issues have been in the economic areas where the university “did not move far enough,” noted the Nov. 30 union press release.

Sweeney noted during the press conference that UAW 5810 employees will return to work once the contracts are ratified, and encouraged the university to come to the table for the ASEs and student researchers. Sweeney also noted that the unit will be examining each allegation of unfair labor practices with the university based on its merits.

Contact Sandhya Ganesan at 


NOVEMBER 30, 2022