Yesterday, the World Health Organization announced the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak is a global pandemic. Every campus in the UC system has announced that instruction and exams will be moved online for some period of time to avert further transmission. UAW 2865 and UAW 5810 (our sibling union of Postdocs and Academic Researchers) have jointly issued a demand to bargain with UC to ensure all necessary steps are taken to improve working conditions in response to this unprecedented challenge. You can read the demand letter here.
It is also important to know your rights as a TA, tutor, or reader, as departments adapt to new forms of remote learning and work throughout the state:
- Appointment security: if you were offered and accepted an appointment for Winter or Spring Quarter that you believe may be jeopardized by campus closure, know that you are entitled to an equivalent appointment, or pay and benefits in lieu thereof.
- Paid training: all required training must be paid. If you are a TA, required training on remote instruction or other new systems implemented due to coronavirus count toward your workload, and if you are paid hourly as a tutor or reader you may log training hours as work time.
- Sick time: salaried ASEs at a 50% appointment are guaranteed two paid days of sick leave per quarter, 3 per semester. UC has announced up to 14 days of paid administrative leave for employees who use all their paid sick leave, and for those employees such as hourly ASEs (tutors and readers) who do not accrue paid sick time.
- Workload: every ASE has workload protections guaranteed in the UAW 2865 contract. Track your work hours during this transition and contact your department steward immediately if you’re going over your hours — you are guaranteed pay for all extra work performed, or a decreased workload.
- International students: F and J visa regulations limit online course enrollment for purposes of visa compliance. However, UC has announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Department of State have approved exceptions to accommodate online course engagement for students attending institutions that have made COVID-19 adaptations.
- Tutors: If you’re working as a tutor now and you were scheduled for hours that are now cancelled, you should be paid for those hours. If you’ve received an appointment for next quarter but no schedule yet, be in touch with the union about your appointment security rights.
If you have questions about your rights, a concern about changes to your working conditions, or want to report on best practices that should be implemented more broadly, please reach out using this form. UAW 2865 is receiving an especially high volume of questions right now, so please do not hesitate to contact your local department steward, who may be able to respond to you more quickly. You may also consult your contract here.