The Council of UC Faculty Associations is an umbrella organization for the Faculty Associations (FAs) at each UC campus. The FAs are associations of UC Senate faculty on the campuses of the University of California. Each FA is dues supported and therefore completely independent.
In the early 1970’s, a group of Academic Senate faculty at Berkeley concluded that the University by itself could not halt the alarming decline in faculty compensation caused by accelerating inflation and legislative inertia. They also foresaw the day when legislation would allow for public employee unions in higher education. Therefore UC faculty formed associations of Academic Senate faculty first at Berkeley, then at UCLA, and then on all the campuses of the University of California. The FAs helped draft legislation that would help to ensure that the academic quality of the University of California would never be compromised. When that legislation passed (AB 1091, also known as HEERA or The Berman Act) in 1979, it became clear that the authority of the Academic Senate was restricted to academic matters and the Senate could not represent the economic or employment interests of its faculty before the University or the Legislature. A group of Senate faculty–not acting as the Senate but as an independent association of faculty members–would take on that important responsibility.
The Faculty Associations pay little attention to academic and personnel issues on which the authority of the Academic Senate is well-established, such as curriculum, hiring and evaluating faculty, and matters of discipline and grievance; on other issues on which governance is shared between the Academic Senate and the UC Administrations Faculty Associations support the authority of the Senate, monitor the performance of the Senate, and sometimes advocate within the Senate. Within this context, we concentrate our attention on employer-employee issues like faculty salaries, medical, fringe, and retirement benefits, and other conditions of work like teaching load and outside employment policies. As a membership organization we thus have the best of two worlds: better representation in employment matters and no loss of autonomy in academic matters.
The local campus Faculty Associations join together loosely to form the Council of UC Faculty Associations, our systemwide organization. The chair of each campus FA serves on the Board of the Council. Campus FAs (except Santa Cruz) do not have specific labor rights, but the Council does by virtue of its agency status with the Santa Cruz FA, the legal bargaining agent for the faculty at UCSC. Because of these assigned labor rights, the Office of the President has the obligation to send notices to the Council about any proposed changes to the wages, benefits, hours, and working conditions of UC faculty. If the Council has questions or feels that those changes are not in the best interests of the faculty, the Council has the labor rights to ask for a consulting session with the UC Administration in Oakland.
In Sacramento, the Faculty Associations hire the services of a professional lobbyist so that we can monitor the state’s contribution to UC and what portion of that contribution goes to UC faculty salaries. When there are cuts to be made, we protect faculty interests. We also follow bills that affect faculty concerns and follow the activities of state government organizations that set salary formulas. Because it is state-funded, the Senate may not use its resources to lobby on behalf of faculty interests. Without us, faculty would have to rely on the goodwill of the University and the legislature to address economic issues affecting faculty, and while no one doubts that goodwill, it is always better to have someone asking questions, providing information, and keeping a close lookout. That’s where the UC Faculty Associations come in: we are watchdogs, quiet most of the time, but ready to spring into action on both the campus and statewide levels.
The FAs represent all ranks of UC Senate faculty, emeriti, and lecturers with security of employment.