Letters to the Editor: UC defends its contract offer in labor talks to avert a strike
I am writing in response to a letter by two University of California officials who recently requested that the University of California, Irvine, negotiate with them in order to avert mass disruption of their classes, as is currently happening across the University of California system. They are offering an unconditional contract offer to the unionized UCI faculty for all services provided to the university under a collective bargaining agreement currently in place.
The University of California is a great institution. It provides a great education, employs an amazing population of well-trained highly skilled workers, and is run by some of the smartest, well-informed and dedicated people I know. But, at the end of the day, UC is still a private institution. And private institutions, like other public entities, need to spend taxpayer dollars like we all do.
As members of the UCI community, we are obligated to do what the University wants, even when there is a strong temptation to do what is more convenient.
UC has been doing everything in its power to avert a strike. After the recent vote, the University of California, Berkeley, announced an offer to the UCI labor relations committee for a one-year contract to take effect Aug. 1, 2014, that included a $1.5 billion increase in spending over the present contract, for services that include faculty pay raises, expanded health care for retirees, and expansion of higher education opportunities.
As one of several UC campuses preparing for a strike, UCI, in consultation with UC system regents, has been talking with UC Berkeley leaders for weeks, seeking to avert a strike. The regents agreed on Feb. 23 to UCI’s contract offer, and on March 9, UCI signed the contract with the union. We will continue to negotiate, as is our constitutional right, and come to a deal that everyone can live with.
UCI’s $4.6 billion budget includes $2.1 billion in operating costs, $1.6 billion in capital