Skip to main content

System Status: 

Continuity of Research: Information and Guidance

The United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) members voted to authorize a strike that began on Monday, November 14, 2022.

These bargaining units consist of Postdoctoral Scholars, Academic Researchers, Academic Student Employees (ASEs - TAs/Readers/Tutors), and Graduate Student Researchers (including some graduate students on training grants and external fellowships). The UC’s contracts with UAW expired on October 31, 2022, and negotiations are ongoing.

**For information specifically related to UC San Diego's response to the strike, visit UC San Diego Labor Negotiation Updates.**

Vice Chancellor and UCOP Research Guidance

Please note the following:

  • UC San Diego respects the rights of represented employees to bargain collectively on the terms and conditions of employment, and to perform legally protected strike activities, including picketing, near the exterior or campus property and entrances.
  • Principal investigators (PIs) and research group leads should plan alternate workflows now to be prepared in the event that Graduate Student Researchers, Postdoctoral Scholars, and Academic Researchers do not appear at scheduled work times.
  • Research facilities do not need to cease operations, but will need to adjust workflow in light of potential work stoppage.
  • While one must prepare for potential absences in the event of a UAW strike, it is not permissible to ask members of the represented units whether or not they intend to participate in a work stoppage, even if the intent of such questions is entirely operational.
  • For the University’s position on the UAW’s announced strike visit universityofcalifornia.edu/UAW.

Alternative Work Planning

It is important to strategize now about how a potential work stoppage may impact your lab, your research, your staff and your contractual obligations to any funding you receive.

Please note that you will not have to officially submit or have any plans approved by the university. We encourage you to develop a solid action plan that accommodates temporary changes in staff availability.

Consider and plan for the extreme case that everyone represented by UAW will not report for scheduled work beginning Nov. 14.

For instance, develop alternative approaches to experiment schedules, supervision of undergraduate researchers, and changes in work assignments related to human subjects research or in vivo research. Develop a plan for communicating with participants in research studies. Review lab maintenance requirements, including handling of hazardous substances and materials. 

Also, there should be no restrictions of access to university research spaces to those within UAW who chose to work in good faith. It is unlawful to discourage or retaliate against employees because they have engaged in lawful strike activity. This is true even if the employee’s absence will cause disruption to the academic or research work of the institution.

Virtual Privacy Considerations

Consider that non-UAW members of the campus community and the public may prefer to work remotely or attend campus events remotely, to avoid crossing picket lines. Consider postponing or offering a hybrid option for meetings, events and symposia, but as always be mindful that general privacy requirements remain intact. 

Contracts and Grants Questions

Consider how the absence of personnel might impact your preparations of external funding proposals. Work with your research administration and sponsored program office personnel to ensure timely submissions. For more information about proposal submission, contact the Client Experience Team at researchadmin@ucsd.edu.

For guidance on the impact of work stoppage on existing grants and contracts, please contact Deston Halverson, dehalverson@ucsd.edu.

Animal Care

Please review your work plans to identify areas and activities that may be impacted by the participation of personnel in a strike. Please ensure procedures are in place to ensure continuity of research. In order to ensure compliance with IACUC protocols and standards of care, please work with the Animal Care Program, and keep the IACUC office informed of any changes to protocols that may be necessary due to absent personnel.

For more information, please visit the Animal Care Program website.

Human Subject Research

Please review your research plans/protocols to identify areas and activities that may be impacted by the participation of personnel in a strike. It will be important either to reschedule study activity, or adjust work schedules to ensure completion by others of work normally performed by employees who may strike. Activities such as performing informed consent, collecting questionnaires, performing standardized assessments, etc. are examples of activities that may require alternative planning.

Please be aware that procedures performed for safety purposes (labs, drug administration, device checkups, etc.) cannot be omitted due solely to striking personnel without prior IRB approval.

As always, changes needed to eliminate an apparent immediate hazard to subjects may be made without prior IRB approval and must be submitted to the IRB within 10 day. For those studies where procedures cannot be rescheduled without necessitating a protocol change, PIs should ensure procedures are in place to maintain continuity of research.

PIs should make plans to communicate with study participants about potential changes in schedule, changes in personnel, or potential strike activity (such as picketing) so that they are fully informed.

If you have questions, please contact irb@ucsd.edu; messages received during working hours will receive a response the same day.

Biosafety

Please review your lab management procedures for biological materials and Biohazard Use Authorization status to identify areas and activities that may be impacted by the participation of personnel in a strike. In order to ensure compliance with Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) requirements and renewals, please work with the Biosafety Program (ehsbio@ucsd.edu), to notify of any BUA protocol submission issues or changes to protocols that may be necessary due to absent personnel.

Lab & Chemical Safety

Please review your work plans to identify areas and activities that may be impacted by the participation of personnel in a strike. It will be important either to reschedule experiments, or adjust work schedules to ensure oversight of equipment, deliveries, and lab safety oversight normally performed by employees who may strike. Ensure that staff, students and temporary workers are trained to safely perform any new assignments. Update EH&S authorizations, hazard control plans with new staff assignments and ensure appropriate Personal Protective Equipment is available and used. If you have any safety questions or concerns please work with your RAP team member EHSRAP@ucsd.edu.

Review lab spaces and experiments that may become inactive during the strike.

  • Ensure experiments being performed by striking personnel using hazardous materials or reactive materials are monitored or shut down. Make sure experiments are stabilized and will not create uncontrolled hazards.
  • Close the sash on chemical fume hoods.
  • Safely store and secure all hazardous materials. Move chemicals from laboratory benches and returning chemicals to their proper storage location.
  • Label and securely cap all containers.
  • Move hazardous waste with completed waste tags to the proper waste storage area and request items be picked up.
  • Close gas valves, cap cylinders that are not in use and ensure gas cylinders are secured with upper and lower restraints.
  • Ensure cryogenic liquids are properly secured, venting, and maintained.
  • Check pressure-, temperature-, air-, or moisture-sensitive materials and equipment. Reactions in progress may need to be terminated depending on the duration of the strike.
  • Turn off heat-generating equipment (e.g., hot plates, stir plates, ovens) and nonessential electrical devices.
  • Check that refrigerator, freezer, and incubator doors are tightly closed.

Contacts and Resources

Summary of relevant contacts for UAW strike related inquiries (Nov. 11, 2022)

Review current UC San Diego Collective Bargaining Agreements (and Union Contacts)

If you need help or have questions that were not addressed here, please email updatequestions@ucsd.edu.