Collective Bargaining Background

The Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act is the state law that authorizes and regulates collective bargaining between the University of California and the labor organizations that represent UC employees.

The Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) administers the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA). PERB conducts representation elections and makes decisions regarding Unfair Labor Practice charges filed by employees, labor organizations and the university.

The law protects employees from reprisals, discrimination, coercion or interference with their exercise of HEERA rights. This includes the right to form, join and participate in the activities of employee organizations of their own choosing for the purpose of representation on all matters of employer-employee relations and for the purpose of meeting and conferring over those matters. Employees also have the right to refuse to join employee organizations or to participate in the activities of these organizations. Employees cannot, however, refuse to pay an agency fee (fair share) in lieu of paying membership dues.

Employees who are managerial or confidential within the meaning of HEERA, and some student employees, are excluded from the law's coverage. Supervisory employees have some rights to union representation under HEERA, however, the law prohibits collective bargaining of supervisors' terms and conditions of employment.

The complete text of the law is viewable at:

History of Collective Bargaining at UC

Under HEERA, a bargaining unit is a group of titles with a sufficient "community of interest" (e.g. similar working environment, occupational category, level of education) that a union can reasonably represent the employees in the unit—particularly the negotiation of the employees' terms and conditions of employment.

After the enactment of HEERA in 1979, PERB made a number of determinations about appropriate units at the University of California and conducted representation elections. Unionized units at UCD are: Clerical (Teamsters 2010), Residual Patient Care Professionals (UPTE-CWA 9119), Service (AFSCME Local 3299), Technical (UPTE-CWA 9119), Patient Care Technical (AFSCME Local 3299), Registered Nurses (CNA), Professional Librarians (UC-AFT), Non-Senate Instructional Lecturers (UC-AFT), Research Support Professionals (UPTE-CWA 9119), Academic Student Employees (AGSE-UAW), Police Officers (FUPOA), and Firefighters (IAFF Local 4437). The full texts of the collective bargaining agreements between the University and these unions are available on our contracts page. HEERA prohibits the University from negotiating directly with represented employees ("direct dealing") or consulting with any academic, professional or staff advisory group on any matter within the scope of representation.

There are several PERB-established bargaining units that have voted to remain non-unionized, including the academic researchers, skilled crafts employees at UC Davis, and administrative professionals. There are, in addition, numerous UC job titles that have never been designated as part of a bargaining unit.

The Negotiation Process

HEERA requires that in negotiating contracts the parties engage in good faith negotiations to try to resolve their differences and to attempt to achieve a signed contract. In the event the parties cannot reach agreement, HEERA provides intervention through an impasse procedure. This procedure includes mediation and fact-finding. If mediation fails, the mediator can elevate the issues to fact-finding. In the fact-finding process, the parties present their respective positions on the unresolved issues that are designated by law as mandatory subjects of bargaining to a three-member fact-finding panel. The panel issues recommendations for resolving the differences between the parties. If the parties cannot reach agreement at the conclusion of fact-finding, the recommendations become available to the public.