Tentative Agreements & Ratification FAQ

This FAQ is about the contents of the SRU-UAW and UAW2865 tentative agreements and the process for ratification.


Why are there different pay rates on different campuses? 

This tentative agreement reduces the pay gap between campuses. The University has been paying departments and campuses differently for decades, and this tentative agreement is a strong step towards correcting that. 

UCSC already has a housing stipend of $2,500/year which puts pay on that campus on par with the other three campuses that will see a higher base wage increase and have a higher cost of living than most other campuses.

The tentative agreement for TAs reflects that reality and ensures that workers who previously saw no wage increases because of University accounting tricks will instead see year-over-year increases. 


Will the contract guarantee that the Santa Cruz housing stipend remains in effect? 

The University is required to maintain past practices and cannot reduce compensation in response to collectively-bargained increases. That means that the Santa Cruz housing stipend, along with the UCSF housing supplement and other forms of additional compensations/stipends, are guaranteed. 


Can UC lawfully eliminate or reduce additional compensation that I have been receiving in response to collectively bargained wage increases?

No.  The union and the UC have agreed that the University can pay ASEs/SRs over the minimum/maximum salary wage schedule.  Historically, some members have received top-ups or other forms of supplemental compensation over the base wages.  If the University has been providing you with top-ups or other forms of supplemental compensation used to augment base wages, then that supplement should remain.  The University should not take away or reduce your supplemental compensation in response to an increase in collectively bargained wages.  The law prohibits the University from discriminating against or interfering with the rights of unions and their members by reducing wages and benefits because of protected activity.  Such protected activity includes collectively bargaining terms and conditions of employment.  Thus, the University should not unilaterally eliminate or reduce supplemental wages that you have been receiving to undermine or circumvent wage increases achieved through collective bargaining.  If you have been receiving supplemental compensation, the University should continue to provide that supplemental compensation on top of your collectively agreed-upon salary. 


What changed from before, when the University did reduce our supplements in response to wage increases? 

It has always been unlawful for the University to reduce supplements in response to collectively bargained wage increases. The Union placed a grievance on pause under the previous contract while GSR unionization was ongoing to take away the University’s strongest argument that top-ups or other supplements had nothing to do with wages. Now that GSRs may win their first contract and the University has clarified their position on wage supplements during negotiations, the Union’s legal position is even stronger than before. (See: “Can UC lawfully eliminate or reduce additional compensation that I have been receiving in response to collectively bargained wage increases?”)


Can UC under-appoint an ASE/SR in order to undermine collectively bargained wages or benefits? 

No.  As stated above, the law prohibits the University from discriminating against or interfering with the rights of unions and their members by reducing wages and benefits because of protected activity.  Thus, the University should not alter standard appointment percentages to undermine or circumvent wage increases or percentage-based benefits achieved through collective bargaining.  While there may be circumstances where a lower appointment percentage is warranted, the University should not deviate from standard appointments to avoid its contractual obligations.  Indeed, the UAW recently prevailed in an arbitration where the arbitrator found that, despite UC’s claim of broad management rights, UC violated the CBA by appointing employees at below 25% to circumvent its contractual responsibility to provide fee remission.  The University should provide appointments, consistent with negotiating history and longstanding practice, to effectuate in good faith the contractual promises made during collective bargaining. 


Can UC change GSR steps to reduce pay?

No. As explained above, the University cannot under-appoint an ASE/GSR in order to undermine collectively bargained wages or benefits. That includes arbitrarily lower appointment percentages and also includes lower steps. If you are currently a GSR at Steps 1-4 you will automatically go to the new Step 2 or 3 by October 2023. 



Who is the new Dependent Health Premium Remission program designed to benefit?

ASEs/SRs who are single parents but who don’t qualify for Medi-Cal, and ASEs/SRs whose partner does not have an income (e.g. an international worker’s partner who is not allowed to work because of visa regulations) or a low income.

Who is eligible for Dependent Health Premium remission?

ASE/SR who is a registered graduate student with ASE/SR appointment(s) or other eligible academic appointments totaling 25% or more of full-time for a given term in a State- supported or Self-Supporting Program.

Income eligibility criteria for Dependent Health Premium remission:

A single ASE/SR with an income that exceeds their designated individual Medi-Cal eligibility threshold is eligible to receive 100% premium remission for their child dependents.

A married ASE/SR is not eligible for the premium remission if the income of an ASE/SR’s spouse puts their joint income over their designated family’s MediCal eligibility threshold.

See relevant information here: https://www.healthforcalifornia.com/covered-california/income-limits

How is this different from previous dependent healthcare coverage for SRs and ASEs?

Previously, there was no coverage of healthcare for the dependents of ASEs or SRs at UC. This will be the first remission of dependent healthcare coverage in our contracts. 

Where can I find the Medi-Cal eligibility threshold?

Families with children may qualify for Medi-Cal when the family has a household income of 266% or less of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL): https://www.healthforcalifornia.com/covered-california/income-limits




What does it mean for NRST to be codified in the contract? 

Putting NRST policies in the contract means that workers can file grievances if the University discriminatorily fails to provide NRST in line with previous University policies or practices. Further, it ensures that workers have a place to build from for the next contract now that NRST is in the Fee Remissions article. 



Did ASEs, Postdocs, ARs, and SRs all tentatively agree to the same Access Needs/Reasonable Accommodations article? 



What does the Access Needs/Reasonable Accommodations article establish?

The University is now required to:

Implement Interim Accomodations – the new article requires UC to implement accommodations on an interim basis, until the end of the interactive process, so that workers receive accommodations immediately when they are needed.

Include language about access needs in everyone’s appointment letter, so new workers are aware of their rights under the contract and know that they can have the support of a union representative throughout the interactive process (where workers have a say in how their access needs are met).

Establish a joint committee that will work to review data to analyze issues, and identify campus best practices on e.g. funding for workers Access Needs. 

Note: the Leaves article that is currently tentatively-agreed to gives workers 8 weeks of fully paid leave for serious medical issues.

What does this build from?

UAW 2865’s 2018-2022 contract contained an article titled “Reasonable Accomodations” (Article 23) which contains protections that are still in effect. That article accomplished the following for the first time in our workplace:

  • Contractually requires University to implement needed disability accommodations.
  • Requires University to engage in an interactive process that mandates worker input to get the accommodations the worker wants, rather than allowing the University to unilaterally determine the accommodations.
  • Allows workers to enforce the contract through the grievance process if accommodations are not provided, or if the interactive process is not fair.

The 2018 contract also includes strong non-discrimination protections for disabled ASEs that are grievable and enforceable.


Is medical documentation required to obtain accommodations?

Under our 2018 contract, the University may require medical documentation to help identify the needed accommodations. “Medical documentation” refers to any document produced by a medical professional – a doctor, therapist, physical therapist, etc. “Medical documentation” does not refer to a diagnosis. Under the 2018 contract, no diagnosis is necessary to receive accommodations. The Access Needs article tentatively agreed on tonight leaves unchanged the 2018 contract language regarding medical documentation and does not require medical documentation to receive interim accommodations.