October 23, 2017
On October 15, 2017, Governor Brown signed into law an amendment to the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA) expanding the definition of “employee” to include all student employees at the University of California, even when their work is an integral part of their educational objectives. This amendment goes into effect on January 1, 2018.
Previously, Graduate Student Researchers (GSRs) were determined to be fundamentally students and not “employees” as defined by the state laws governing unionization at the University of California. All student employees at the University of California, including GSRs, are now eligible to become exclusively represented by a union under HEERA.
As a result, the United Auto Workers (UAW) or another union may be approaching Graduate Student Researchers to sign materials about union representation.
The University of California supports the rights of employees to decide whether unionization is beneficial for them, and believes this choice should be well informed.
Important guidelines for supervisors and principal investigators to understand when communicating to GSRs about unionization are available at:
GSSR Unionization: Guidelines for Supervisors/Principle Investigators
Information has also been provided to graduate students and materials posted on UCnet as follows:
Main page: http://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/labor/gsr/index.html
You may contact Terri Winbush, Director of Labor Relations, at 858-822-2013 if you have additional questions.