UAW 2865 Equity Survey Background
In our 2018-2022 contract, we won our Union’s strongest ever protections against harassment and discrimination, but only after UC admin rejected our proposal 13 times. Instead of bargaining improvements, the administration proposed eliminating the right of Academic Student Employees (ASEs) to address sexual harassment through our own Union’s grievance process. Through actions, petitions, and legislative outreach, ASEs instead won survivor-centered protections that allow us to determine the course of the grievance process, and allow the University to only grant those interim remedies that are voluntary and equitable–something only the worker can decide. We won these protections not only in cases of sexual harassment but for any kind of harassment or discrimination.
There is much more to do in the struggle to make our university a UC for All. The equity survey is an important tool to generate more collective power and to identify issues in how student-workers experience our time at UC based on gender, citizenship, race, disability, ethnic background, sexuality, parenting status, and other identity markers.
By organizing mass participation in the survey, we will show UC administration where more improvements need to be made and demonstrate that ASEs are organized and ready to fight back if they try to eliminate our rights when we bargain again in 2022.
UAW 2865 Equity Survey Frequently Asked Questions
What is the UAW 2865 Equity Survey?
Over the years, Academic Student Employees, along with Postdocs and Academic Researchers, have led the movement for equity at UC. Among many other achievements we have made together, such as passing the California DREAM Act, UAW 2865 was the first UC union to win binding anti-discrimination protections enforceable through arbitration. This year (2019-20), we continue that work as we launch our union’s first UC-wide Equity Survey.
We know inequity, discrimination, and harassment exist in academic workplaces. Whether through whisper networks, anecdotes shared over coffee, or tips on certain labs and PIs to avoid, academic workers have been forced to develop our own strategies to navigate the university. As unionized workers, we don’t have to let that be the end of the story. By bringing our experiences into the light and addressing them together, we can organize collectively against all forms of inequity.
How is UAW 2865’s equity survey different from surveys UC has conducted?
The University collects extensive data about discrimination, harassment, and inequality, but it is at the university administration’s sole discretion how they act on the data, if at all.
The UAW 2865 Equity Survey is by, for, and of academic workers. As such, it will support us in making change through collective action.
What are the goals of the survey?
The survey seeks to identify the prevalence of harassment, discrimination, and other forms of inequality that Academic Student Employees face, which will support expanding protections and shape our bargaining demands when we renegotiate our contract with UC. With thousands of responses, UC will also know that these issues are important to academic workers and that we will fight to win.
Working toward supermajority participation in the Equity Survey also allows academic workers to build leadership networks in our immediate workplaces. As more people fill out the survey, we will organize collectively around the issues that come up in our departments, programs, and hiring units. Department stewards and area leaders can host meetings to discuss these ideas–and departments that do not yet have stewards can elect them.
Will my responses be kept confidential?
Yes. The survey collects UC email addresses to keep track of who has filled out the survey, which ensures the integrity of the data and helps organize a majority of Academic Student Employees to complete the survey. But your individual responses will be kept separate from your name unless you indicate otherwise. If you indicate that you would like to be contacted about your responses (an option at the end of the survey), an organizer with our union will contact you to talk more about your experience.
This survey is developed, administered, and interpreted by elected leaders of our union, and by coming together around our individual and shared experiences, we can live up to the union maxim that an injury to one is an injury to all.
Why does this survey ask about my demographic information?
The survey asks about demographic information to assess how equity issues have different impacts across identity categories. Collecting this demographic information is critical to creating a more equitable university. For example, a similar survey administered jointly by the University of Washington and UAW 4121 found that 57% of Academic Student Employees experienced harassment in the past year—already a disturbing amount—but individuals who identified as Hispanic/Latinx, black, women, nonbinary, trans and queer reported experiencing these behaviors at higher rates.
What is the difference between the Union grievance procedure and other University processes for addressing harassment and discrimination, including Title IX?
Over the years, UAW 2865 has pushed for improvements of Title IX and other University processes. But there is no substitute for the real recourse provided by the Union grievance procedure.
The Union grievance procedure has proven more effective than university processes at securing survivor-centered remedies to harassment and discrimination for at least two reasons. First, unlike University processes, the Union grievance procedure has binding timelines for the University to provide survivor-centered interim measures and remedies. If the University does not meet a deadline to respond, or if their response is inadequate, the grievance can be appealed to a higher authority. Second, the Union grievance procedure is an independent process not controlled by the University. If the University does not adequately address a claim of harassment or discrimination, that claim can be appealed to a neutral, third-party arbitrator who then issues a binding ruling. This ensures a fair process for survivors.
Read this testimony from a now-graduated UAW 2865 member about the importance of the union grievance procedure for addressing harassment in her workplace, after the UC Title IX office dropped her case:
How can I get more involved in equity work at my campus?
Organizing can start in your department, program, or hiring unit. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to talk to an organizer about electing a department steward or about issues in your workplace; to get connected with your campus’s Organizing Committee or Equity Committee; or to join the statewide Anti-
Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Committee or the statewide International Students’ Working Group.