Continuity of Instruction and Research

To: Deans, department chairs, department managers, college provosts, and faculty

From: Lori Kletzer, Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

Dear Colleagues:  

I am writing today to update and inform you about developments regarding our academic student employees (ASEs). On May 3, 2024, the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) filed Unfair Labor Practice charges against the University of California, related to ongoing campus protests and arrests that followed at other UC campuses. UAW 4811 is conducting a strike authorization vote from May 13-15. If the strike vote is successful, UAW’s Executive Board will have the authority from their members to call a systemwide strike.  

The University disagrees with the Union’s position and views this potential work stoppage as an unlawful one that violates the clear terms of the collective bargaining agreements between the parties, which prohibits strikes, work stoppages, and any other concerted activities that interfere directly or indirectly with University operations during the life of the current collective bargaining agreements.

UC has a long tradition of respecting the civil expression of individual views, and individual graduate student employees are free to exercise their rights so long as such participation does not conflict or interfere with their work responsibilities, and does not violate University policies, including the Student Code of Conduct. 

In the event of a work stoppage, our primary goal is to minimize the disruptive impact, especially in light of the many educational and research disruptions that have affected students and researchers in recent years. Academic continuity is essential to the education and research mission of the University of California and it is a core responsibility to our students.

Continuity in Instruction  

In the event strike activity occurs, the University has an obligation to hold all classes we have committed to provide, including lectures and other primary class meetings, discussion sections, and labs. This means there must be contingency plans for department chairs to know and record if an instructor of record, including graduate student instructors (GSI), is not teaching their class meeting and for instructors of record to know and record if a TA is not conducting their discussion sessions and/or labs. If scheduled instruction does not take place, student learning must be facilitated through alternative means so that students can continue to make progress toward course learning outcomes and maintain progress in their efforts to complete their degrees. Steps should also be taken to ensure that grading will be completed and grades submitted to meet deadlines. Instructors of record should make efforts now to have a record of all existing student grades if they supervise TAs, and faculty mentors should do the same for the grade books of their GSIs.

Instructors may find assistance in working to ensure instructional continuity in dialogue with their department colleagues and department chair. The Teaching and Learning Center has resources available for instructional continuity in a wide range of circumstances and has prepared new resources specific to labor actions. These resources will likely be modified and expanded in the coming days with material relevant to current circumstances.  

Continuity of Research  

Similarly, it is essential for Principal Investigators (PIs) to engage in efforts to minimize any impact a strike might have on our research mission.

I encourage you to consider planning for the following:

Deliveries — Deliveries of cryogenics, gas cylinders and other critical research supplies may be affected if delivery drivers are unwilling to cross picket lines, so please plan accordingly with respect to the deliveries of critical or perishable research items.

Sensitive research assets — PIs should make backup arrangements now to ensure continuous care of sensitive research assets, including animals, plants and cell lines. Make sure research data assets are stored in accessible locations.

Research facilities — We do not anticipate that access to research facilities will be affected for those who will continue to work on campus.

One key responsibility for PIs is the accurate recording and reporting of personnel engagement on sponsored research. Personnel expenses may only be charged to sponsored research for work actually performed. 

PIs are encouraged to work with the Office of Research to develop plans to continue research in the event of a work stoppage, including preservation of research materials, and effort reporting. Questions can be directed to


Instructor of Record and Principal Investigator Responsibilities  

While the University respects the right of employees to withhold their labor during a lawful strike, they can only be compensated for work they actually perform. Further, if a strike occurs following the strike authorization vote, it is the University’s position that it will be an unlawful action as the University has closed contracts with all UAW bargaining units that prohibit strikes, work stoppages, or other concerted activities that interfere with University operations during the terms of the agreements. 

Pursuant to Regents Bylaw 40.1, the Regents of the University of California delegated to the Academic Senate supervision of all courses and curricula in recognition that faculty participation in the shared governance of the University of California, through the agency of the Academic Senate, ensures the quality of instruction, research, and public service at the University while protecting academic freedom. The Academic Personnel Manual  (APM – 410-20) provides that Teaching Assistants serve “under the active direction and supervision of a regular member of the faculty to whom responsibility for the course’s entire instruction, including the performance of Teaching Assistants, has been assigned.” Accordingly, the University relies on Instructors of Record to certify the accuracy of leave-reporting for Teaching Assistants in our CruzPay time and attendance system. 

Principal Investigators are reminded that federal research grants are subject to Uniform Guidance (2 C.F.R. Part 200), which establishes uniform administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements, in addition to agency-specific reporting and cost principles. Principal Investigators have primary responsibility for financial management and control of project funds in accordance with University and sponsor policies and procedures. This includes ensuring accurate reporting of hours worked and wages charged to sponsored agreements. Principal Investigators are required to certify the accuracy of leave-reporting by employees in our CruzPay time and attendance system.

Supervisors of TAs, GSIs, GSRs, Postdocs, and Academic Researchers are responsible for ensuring their employees are submitting leave taken accurately. Moreover, it is critical that supervisors and their employees are submitting leave reports each period, whether or not any leave was taken. In the event an employee submits an inaccurate leave report, the supervisors should reject the leave report in CruzPay and ask the employee to re-submit it. 

Leave Without Pay should be recorded on an employee's leave report in the event they were scheduled to work but did not work. Personal Time Off (GSRs and Postdocs), Short Term Leave (TA/GSIs) or vacation or sick leave (Professional Researchers, Project Scientists, Specialists) is not permitted to be used for strike purposes unless the PTO, STL, vacation, or sick leave was approved in advance.

I acknowledge that these issues are difficult and contested. Aligning pay with work is not a disciplinary move; in fact, UAW 4811 posts on its website, “UC also has the right to not pay us for the work we don’t do while on strike.” In regard to leave-reporting, the UAW 4811 website offers, “The University may ask Academic Workers to ‘attest’ as to whether they worked, or not, during a strike. These are forms that Universities sometimes use to assess whether or not to deduct pay for work not performed during a strike. It is unlawful to ask workers to fill out strike attestation forms before a strike or before labor is withheld. There is power in numbers: workers should fill out these forms truthfully and accurately, but only after the work has been struck.” 

Instructors of Record and Principal Investigators should contact their Office of Labor Relations or Academic Personnel in the event that they have questions.  

Resources for Faculty and PIs 

With five weeks remaining in spring quarter, I recognize the strong feelings and reactions that this situation creates. Knowing what to do can feel uncertain for many. We all, however, have responsibilities to our students, largely undergraduate students, and we have responsibilities to conduct our sponsored research. Not conducting primary class sessions or discussion sections, labs, and office hours, or leaving students without grades indefinitely for a course they have completed, can impact their educational progress, financial aid, applications for work and graduate school, commencement, and other career plans. We must work to minimize these disruptions.   

In our continuity plans, it is important that faculty not inadvertently violate California’s Higher Education Employee Relations Act (HEERA).