BERKELEY (BCN) – The union representing University of California lecturers is planning a two-day systemwide strike starting Wednesday.

Officials from the University Council-American Federation of Teachers claim the administration hasn’t been bargaining in good faith, which led the union to file seven unfair labor practices complaints with state regulators over the past 20 months.

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The university’s leadership has shown “a clear pattern of disrespect, lack of consideration, and unlawful actions, all of which interferes with our negotiating process and undermines our collective bargaining rights,” according to a statement on the union’s website.

The union, which represents roughly 6,500 lecturers across the 10-campus system, claims the university has failed to negotiate over several issues, including its paid leave policy, settlement terms for “improperly” withheld retirement contributions and compensation for out-of-pocket expenses related to remote teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic, among other things.

On Sunday, the Council of UC Faculty Associations, which represents assistant, associate and full professors, sent a letter to UC President Michael Drake saying that nearly 800 of its members would act in solidarity with their UC-AFT colleagues by refusing to cross picket lines if a strike isn’t averted.

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“Many Senate faculty who observed bargaining sessions over the last two years have been dismayed and embarrassed by the constant disrespect, intentional misdirection, stalling, and bad-faith negotiation by (UC Office of the President) lawyers, negotiators, and campus-based labor relations officers,” according to the letter.

University officials deny they’ve negotiated in bad faith and say that their offers to the union over the course of two-and-a-half years have included pay hikes and other concessions.

“During these negotiations, UC has engaged with an open mind to lecturer concerns on various matters including compensation, benefits, workload, and additional support for instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a university statement.

“While we continue to bargain in good faith — withholding instruction is grossly unfair to our students and a strike does not move us closer to a contract,” the statement reads, in part.

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