How UC Berkeley goes beyond the strike

How UC Berkeley goes beyond the strike

How UC Berkeley goes beyond the strike

Chancellor Carol Christ and Executive Vice Chancellor and Chancellor Benjamin Hermalin sent the following message to the campus community on Thursday:

As we enter the spring term and look to start teaching, we want to take a moment to reflect on the UAW 2022 contract negotiations and strike and start charting a path forward.

We have to admit that we are starting 2023 in a completely different place than a year ago. The strike affected every member of our campus community and will have a lasting impact. While the strike is over, work on rebuilding after the strike is just beginning.

Together

The process of negotiating a new employment contract inevitably puts the employer and union members at odds. We realize that there were many disagreements throughout the process and emotions ran high at times. At the same time, we deeply believe that there is more that unites us than divides us. We hope to put aside any lingering divisions and move forward towards our common goals. Many of our future efforts, as outlined below, are directed at the critical need to heal and rebuild our community.

Impact on financial and human resources

The strike and the resulting collective bargaining agreements also have financial and human resources implications, creating practical challenges such as settling the time not worked by striking workers and financing the increased costs associated with new contracts.

These are just some of the questions we grapple with. For many answers, we are waiting for further guidance from the Office of the President of the UC. We know that people are eager to respond and we are doing everything we can to provide them as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience as we work through these issues, trying to answer questions and provide guidance. We encourage you to rely on official university sources for information such as UCOP, Labor and Employment Relations (ELR), the Academic Personnel Office (APO) and the established strike recovery website.

In addition, we know that a lot of training is needed, such as within the BRS organization, for our GSAO, the Office of Sponsored Projects and the Office of Industrial Alliances on new pay rates, how to build GSR/GSI degrees, postdoctoral raises and academic researchers increase grants and budgets. Training will also be required for faculty (including principal investigators), department heads, academic staff analysts, and others who may oversee UAW employees under the new contract.

Go ahead

To help us steer our efforts, we have set up a structure similar to the one used during the COVID-19 pandemic, with work being divided among working groups, with overall central coordination. There are five main streams of work:

  • Financial planning – Forward-looking financial modelling, UAW contract implementation, contract accounting, training and strike workload reporting.

  • Academic/Instructional planning — Resolving fall semester grading issues, re-engagement with GSI and UGSI, long-term implications for undergraduate teaching.

  • Faculty experience — Manage relationships with funders (e.g. research funded by federal agencies), address lost research productivity, repair relationships with students who may have been affected by a strike

  • Campus climate and healing — Supporting staff, faculty and students to rebuild connections and communities; understanding the impact of the strike on graduate programs.

  • Communication – Informing the campus community of these efforts, assisting with questions and answers.

These work streams, consisting of approximately 60 staff and faculty, led by senior campus leaders, have already started their work. Visit the new Impact Recovery site to learn more about work streams, ask questions, and find updates as work progresses.

With the strike behind us, we look forward to continuing our joint work to achieve the mission of our university. I wish you a successful and fruitful spring semester.

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