UC lecturers would get pay boost, earlier mentoring under tentative contract agreement

University of California lecturers would receive a pay boost, earlier job reviews and special funds that can be used for retirement under a tentative four-year contract agreement, UC and union officials announced Monday.

Ratification votes will take place at the system's 10 campuses over the next two weeks for 5,000 faculty members who are not on a tenure track, according to Bob Samuels, president of the University Council-American Federation of Teachers.

Lecturers work under contracts from three months to longer periods, with average annual earnings between $50,000 and $100,000, he said.

The proposed agreement includes an 11.2% pay hike over four years and a 5% annual lump sum payment for three years for part-time lecturers who aren't eligible for UC's retirement program or Social Security.

The proposal also includes a job review, or "mentoring meeting" as the contract calls it, in the third year of teaching. Under the existing contract, lecturers receive no evaluation until the sixth year, when university officials decide whether to place them on "continuing appointment," a designation that offers more job security.

But Samuels said lecturers want feedback more quickly to improve their teaching and better position themselves to receive what he called the "tenure lite" continuing appointment. 

UCLA and UC San Diego have agreed to track the issue of why their lecturers have been less likely to reach the sixth year because of higher turnover than other campuses.

The agreement came after a sometimes-bumpy bargaining process, which began in March. The union, dissatisfied with the pace of negotiations, allowed the contract to expire in December and held protest rallies to kick up the pressure. 

Samuels said the proposed agreement would further improve what he said was already one of the nation's best contracts for non-tenured faculty.

"This contract recognizes the important work lecturers do for the university and moves us in the right direction to professionalize the teaching staff," Samuels said.

Dwaine B. Duckett, UC's vice president of human resources, praised the negotiators from both sides for flexibility and a willingness to compromise. "This is how the bargaining process is supposed to work: with good faith and compromise," he said in a statement. 

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