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Inventory of the United Professors of California Collection, 1965-1985
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Introduction
  • History
  • Scope and Content
  • Material Cataloged Separately

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: United Professors of California Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1965-1985
    Accession number: 1986/59
    Creator: United Professors of California
    Extent: 20 records boxes; 20.0 cubic feet
    Repository: San Francisco State University. Labor Archives & Research Center
    San Francisco, California 94132
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Center's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives & Research Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing to the Director of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Labor Archives & Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], United Professors of California Collection, 1986/59, Labor Archives & Research Center, San Francisco State University.


    The office files of the United Professors of California (UPC) were donated by Louise Kantor, President of the UPC in June and October of 1986. Contact person is Marilyn Oberg, Hayward State University Library. The collection was processed by Susan P. Sherwood, June 1987.


    The United Professors of California, a statewide college faculty union, was founded on 13 June 1970 as the result of an alliance between the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Association of California State College Professors (ACSCP). A merger was proposed at a news conference on 29 September 1969 whereby the AFT College Council and ACSCP State Council would be dissolved and a single faculty union, tentatively named the Union of Associated Professors (UAP), would be created in their place, The new organization was renamed the United Professors of California during the course of negotiations. Following a membership vote an interim board composed of representatives of the two councils called for the dissolution of the former organizations in favor of the UPC. AFT locals within the University of California system remained with the UPC until 1971 when they divided to form an autonomous UC Council, leaving CSUC locals with the UPC. UPC representation after 1971 was confined to the California State University College campuses.
    Original impetus for organizing the California college came from the AFT, which began a collective bargaining campaign in April of 1966 in conjunction with its locals at San Francisco State, San Jose State and Long Beach State. Much of the newly created UPC's energies from 1970 to 1978 were devoted, as its AFT predecessor's had been, to getting a collective bargaining bill for college faculty passed through the California state legislature. Former AFT College Council members Bill Smith, Art Bierman and Arnold Mechanic served respectively as UPC Presidents for the years 1970-73 and provided a continuum of AFT policy and priorities.
    Early opposition to collective bargaining and to the UPC came from three rival academic organizations: the California State Employees Association (CSEA), the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and the California College and University Faculty Association (CCUFA). A consortium known as the Congress of Faculty Association (CFA) was formed in 1974 by the aforementioned organizations to combat the UPC. The organizations within the CFA tended to favor a more traditional approach to faculty-administration relationships.
    After a number of unsuccessful attempts to get a C.B. bill into law: some examples being SB 400 (Moscone) in 1973 and SB 275 (Dills) in 1975, a UPC supported collective bargaining bill, AB 1091 (Berman), was passed by the Legislature in August of 1978. Unit determination hearings were then convened before the Public Employees Relations Board (PERB) to divide CSUC academic and professional employees into voting blocks. Following unit determination hearings an election was held in January of 1982 to determine the bargaining agent to represent the California State University College employees. The CFA, which had moderated its stance on collective bargaining, was represented as a possible agent. Other options available to CSUC faculty and professionals were the UPC or "no agent". The first election ended with neither the UPC or the CFA having enough votes for a 50 percent majority. A run-off election was held in February 1983 between the UPC and the CFA. The UPC lost the right of bargaining agent when the CFA picked up the minority "no agent" votes. Although the UPC did win the right to represent the Academic Support block, lacking the position of bargaining agent for the other units the UPC basically became inactive at this point. In May of 1984 the CFA voted to fully affiliate with the SEIU, AFL-CIO.
    Apart from playing an integral role in the creation and passage of a collective bargaining bill for CSUC faculty and professional employees, the UPC was active over the course of twelve years in drafting and sponsoring a number of bills reflecting faculty concerns. Some of these include: a 1976 bill, SB 1615 dealing with lay-off protection by seniority, bill SB 1588 of the same year concerning employee right of access to personnel files and a 1975 bill, AB 804, instituting more effective grievance procedures. Other bills dealt with matters such as early retirement for faculty, AB 339 in 1975 and early retirement for librarians and counselors, AB 951 in 1978.
    UPC union activity from 1970 to 1982 reflects both basic academic concerns for this period and a wider union oriented perspective. In respect to the latter, the UPC was committed to representing a broad spectrum of CSUC personnel including part-time lecturers, academic support employees and health care workers. This was a departure from the traditional faculty disassociation from both non teaching staff such as librarians and non-tenured employees such as part-time lecturers. Support for a more labor oriented approach within the academic community provides for some interesting insights into societal and economic relations in the 1970s and 1980s and also into the direction of union growth in general. UPC concerns also show an interest in classically academic issues. The union reviewed over one thousand grievance cases related to promotion and retention, matters of tenure, and academic freedom over a twelve year period. Legal counsel was provided on a number of important cases ranging from: a refusal to sign the loyalty oath, Rowe vs. CSUC, to discrimination against professors active in union activities, Wellbaum vs. CSUC.
    Other UPC activities included implementation of "meet and confer" sessions between union members and administration as a bargaining device prior the passage of AB 1091, production of a union paper (the Advocate), research into matters pertaining to affirmative action, and substantial investigation into academic employment trends. In addition to activities of the executive board and appointed committees the union encouraged independent action by the locals, including production of newspapers reporting on matters of specific interest to individual campuses. Membership in 1981, prior to the bargaining agent election, stood at approximately 4200 and encompassed employees ranging from department chairpersons to health records technicians.

    Scope and Content

    The office files of the UPC are divided into sixteen series. Types of materials within the collection include the minutes of the executive board, constitution and bylaws, membership documentation, publications of the UPC and its locals, grievance files, committee records, collective bargaining material, information on the CSUC budget and policies, subject files on salaries, hiring, affirmative action, strikes and pickets material, and information on other academic organizations.
    The earliest materials contained in the collection relate to UPC origins and are documents, publications and records from the AFT College Council for the years 1965-1967. Some other early material includes records and ephemera pertaining to the San Francisco State and San Jose State strikes in 1969. The most current material is executive minutes from 1985. The bulk of the collection is from 1970 through 1982.
    Researchers should find the UPC collection of particular help in documenting wider trends within the union movement. Organization of the "white collar" worker in general and public employees in particular has been the greatest area of growth for unions during the last thirty years. The records of the UPC contain substantial information concerning the development of collective bargaining in higher education, including Lou Harris polls providing a sophisticated breakdown of faculty attitudes towards unions and collective bargaining in the years 1979-1981. Other materials of interest are grievance files pertaining to academic freedom issues.
    Within the UPC collection each series is arranged alphabetically according to the organizational name or subject title listed on the folder label. The exception to this is an historical files series which was created by the UPC. Files within this series have been maintained in the chronological order in which they were arranged. The bulk of the collection was organized alphabetically and that order has been kept. Materials removed from the collection are UPC buttons and tie tacks, now located in the Labor Archives button collection and UPC photographs now housed in the LARC photograph section. A relocation form in box #19 gives a description of photographs removed from the collection. UPC video and audio tapes remain with the collection and are also located in box #19. Apart from pamphlets within the publication series duplicate materials have not been kept except in cases where removal would occasion confusion for the researcher. Bulk material of a public nature such as PERB policy statements have been removed, leaving a representative sample where necessary. Routine records such as data on insurance policies have also not been preserved. Further AFT College Council and UPC material from 1959 through 1984 may be found in LARC collections for former UPC officers: Arthur Bierman, Peter Radcliff and Tim Sampson. The personal papers of Helene Whitson also contain UPC material. Researchers may wish to refer to the UPC/Committee on Lecturers Collection as well, for information on part-time and temporary faculty. A "UPC Songbook" may also be found with that collection in the UPC General Publications File, Publications Series, Folder 20, Box 2.
    UPC material also appears in the LARC ephemera file.
    For information pertaining to the final assignment of remaining UPC funds in 1987 see Box 20, Folder 17.

    Material Cataloged Separately

    • UPC material also appears in the LARC ephemera file.
    • Photos removed to separate photo storage; see Blue Photograph Relocation Form