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UAW agrees to involve third-party mediation in bargaining process with UC

A United Auto Workers’ strike protest outside Pritzker Hall in November. The union has agreed to enter a third-party negotiation process with the University of California as it seeks higher wages and better working conditions. (Ilan Berdy/Daily Bruin)

By Catherine Hamilton

Dec. 9, 2022 7:18 p.m.

This post was updated Dec. 13 at 4:19 p.m.

The University of California and the United Auto Workers union agreed Friday to enter private negotiations mediated by a neutral third party.

The UC and UAW have met more than 60 times since spring 2022, with increased frequency since the union began striking Nov. 14, according to a UC Office of the President press release. According to a UAW press release, the University’s bargaining team told UAW members Thursday that it will no longer present new contract proposals and again requested a third-party mediator to assist with negotiations. A majority of the UAW bargaining team agreed to voluntary mediation Friday.

The University has formally requested this bargaining process seven times, according to UCOP’s press release.

[Related: UC academic workers walk out in largest US strike since 2019

A timeline for negotiations will be established in the near future, according to UCOP’s press release. Until a formal announcement of bargaining information, members of both parties are prohibited from speaking publicly on the process. Both the UC and UAW have to agree on the mediator selected and will have the opportunity to end negotiations at any point, according to UAW.

The mediator, announced Monday, will be mayor of Sacramento Darrell Steinberg, according to a UCOP press release. Steinberg, a former UAW member, attended UCLA as an undergraduate student and UC Davis Law School.

“We (the UC) remain committed to securing a fair and reasonable contract with the union that honors the hard work of our valued graduate student employees,” said Letitia Silas, executive director of systemwide labor relations, in the UCOP press release. “With the help of a neutral mediator, we hope to secure that agreement quickly.”

The UC’s current offer would raise graduate student employees’ salaries over the next three years by 12.5% to 48.4%, putting them among the highest compensated student employees at a United States public research university, according to UCOP’s press release. 

[Related: UAW postdoctoral scholars, academic researchers reach tentative deal with UC]

“Throughout the bargaining process, UC’s negotiators have consistently been unprepared and unserious and have broken the law repeatedly,” said Tarini Hardikar, a bargaining team member from UC Berkeley, in the UAW press release. “Our goal has always been to make UC a more just, equitable place to work … We look forward to working with a professional mediator to resolve the issues still on the table. Until then, we remain on strike.”

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Catherine Hamilton
Hamilton was the 2023-2024 News editor and a Copy staff member. She was previously the 2022-2023 national news and higher education beat editor and a national news contributor.
Hamilton was the 2023-2024 News editor and a Copy staff member. She was previously the 2022-2023 national news and higher education beat editor and a national news contributor.
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