UC researchers approve labor contract

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Nearly two years after they formed a union, about 6,500 University of California employees have their first labor contract.

The UC staffers are researchers who’ve earned their doctorates. They work — typically for several years — in labs under the supervision of university faculty. These post-doc researchers work on subjects from tobacco addiction to alternative fuel technologies. Many earn less than $40,000 a year for full-time work.

Two years ago, most of them signed on with the United Auto Workers in order to improve their salaries, benefits, and workplace rights. UC’s 6,500 post-doc researchers represent about 10 percent of the national total.

UC’s head of human resources said the researchers’ work is vital to the 10-campus University of California system, and welcomed the news that union members approved the contract the UAW and university management had negotiated.