This page answers some frequently asked questions about becoming a member of UAW 2865, and more broadly what UAW 2865 does.
Q: What is UAW 2865?
We are the democratic and member-run union for TA’s, tutors, and readers covering the ten campus system of the University of California. Our main function is to bargain and enforce our contract, which determines our wages, benefits, and rights. We rely on you, as union members, to report any contract violations and workplace grievances you suspect to our elected officers. Grievance resolution often happens informally; contacting the union about your issue does not commit you to any formal grievance procedure. A well enforced contract ensures we have a safe and equitable workplace for all our members and helps preserve our time for our own academic work. For a distilled version of what’s in our contract, refer to the Know Your Rights flier.
Our union is democratic and member-run. Every officer is an elected UC student, and major decisions are made at our open meetings.
Our union is also engaged in politics to elect pro-higher education candidates, secure state funding, and work to prevent state divestment from our universities. At UCSB in particular, we have a strong tradition of engagement in local politics.
Q: Why should I join?
The more members we have, the more power we have. Roughly 60% of TA’s at UCSB are members of UAW 2865, which puts us in a great position when we go to the bargaining table or have to fix an issue on campus. It’s because of this we’ve won benefits like wage increases (24% since 1999), fee-remission, and healthcare. In our most recent contract, we managed to win wage increases, childcare reimbursement, and worked to secure a more inclusive campus and workplace with all-gender restrooms and lactation stations, even while negotiating in a recession.
Becoming a member also gives you the right to participate in elections and membership meetings. We also rely on member input to inform our bargaining team during contract negotiations with the UC. As such, we solicit feedback from thousands of members about what to bargain for. The higher density we have, the better we can represent our members’ interests.
Q: What is expected of me as a member?
You can choose your level of involvement. It’d be great if every member was also an active participant in our union, but you can help the union just by signing a membership card. As mentioned above, one of the main reasons we have power at the bargaining table is because a majority of TA’s, tutors, and readers are members. You contribute to that power by simply becoming a member.
If you do want to become more involved, you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or come to a monthly membership meeting.
Q: What about dues?
For a typical 50% TA, member dues are roughly $8 (0.37%) a month. There is also a one-time $10 initiation fee. All fees come directly out of your pay-check, and you only pay dues while you are working as a TA, tutor, or reader.
In addition to dues, all ASEs, whether or not you are a member, pay a fair-share fee. This amount is determined by California state law and is currently 1.07% of your monthly salary as of Nov. 1, 2014. Together with the fair-share fee and membership dues, 50% TAs pay about $25 a month. Dues are only taken out during the quarters that you actively TA. When you are not TAing, you can still be a full participating union member!
When you consider the cost of joining the union, remember that by having a strong union we’ve made tremendous gains in wages and benefits – for instance, we just won a 5% raise! Collective bargaining costs a bit of money, but we also make a lot more by having it. Member dues go to help run this union, to help enforce the contract, and to help form new unions (most recently, some dues from our union went to help form a Postdoc union at UC).
Q: Why are we part of the United Auto Workers (UAW)?
The UAW is a strong international union and having access to their resources has been a great benefit to us. They helped us to form this union in the 90’s, and were one of the first union’s to recognize that TA’s, tutors, and readers are workers and need rights/protections just like anyone else. There are other universities whose academic student employees are part of the UAW as well, including UAW Local 4121 at University of Washington and UAW Local 4123 at California State University. Post-Docs at the University of California are also represented by UAW Local 5810.
Q: Sounds great! How can I join? How can I become more involved?
E-mail your union reps. at email@example.com or call 510-549-3863 and leave a voicemail. Or come to a membership meeting! We’re always looking for new members and new volunteers.