SAN FRANCISCO — More than 1,000 lecturers at five University of California campuses picketed Monday instead of teaching their classes as part of a two-day strike they hope will pressure the administration to compromise on contract issues.
The non-tenured lecturers have been working without a contract for more than two years and say it’s time UC begins bargaining in good faith, said Kevin Roddy, president of the University Council-AFT and a lecturer of medieval studies at UC Davis.
“We would like to be recognized as participants in the system,” said Roddy, who’s worked as a lecturer since 1976. “The chief negotiator said lecturers do not have positions, they have classes — which allows them to get rid of us at will. That is prejudicial.”
UC has said it is cash strapped because of the ailing state budget and cannot offer lecturers more. It also feels students are the ones suffering most from the walkouts. UC estimates there are 2,500 lecturers, while the union puts it closer to 4,000 by including those who teach just one class.
“At this point, UC has pretty much done everything it can,” said UC spokesman Paul Schwartz. “The state’s view is that the appropriate place to resolve the differences is at the bargaining table, not on the street corner or at campus plazas.”
Schwartz added that the university system also views the strikes as illegal, but said disciplinary action, if any, would be addressed on an individual basis at each campus.
Lecturers waved signs and marched at campuses in Santa Cruz, Irvine, Davis, Riverside and Santa Barbara. Informational fliers were distributed at Berkeley and San Diego.
The lecturers, who are part time and full time, teach about 30 percent of the system’s undergraduate courses. In addition to more money, they are asking for job security and equal treatment, such as being able to apply for grants and serve as department heads. Lecturers currently are hired on a year-to-year basis for the first six years.