The Science Policy Group at UCSFseeks to empower and educate people to advance and advocate (science) policy within and beyond our community. Our focuses include:
gender equity — criminal legal system — funding for biomedical research — advocacy training — drug policy & decriminalization — science education — vaccine equity — COVID-19 policy — voter education — housing policy  —
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Letter of support for the UAW strike.
November 14, 2022

The Science Policy Group (SPG) at UCSF stands in solidarity with the members of UAW 5810, UAW 2865, and SRU-UAW in their bargaining with the University of California (UC).

We understand the unions’ workplace demands as issues of science policy — namely, the policies that guide the conduct of science. Key outstanding issues at the bargaining table include wages, housing, transit, and justice for underrepresented and marginalized groups. The unions have drafted proposals that are evidence-based and data-driven. Each request has been calculated according to the reality of California’s sky-high cost of living. Barriers like cost of living have a disproportionate and severe impact on students and workers from marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds, and continue to dissuade the brightest minds from diverse backgrounds from considering UCSF or other UC institutions for higher learning. Without transformative, forward-thinking changes to the scientific enterprise, we cannot possibly uphold our commitments to diversifying and sustaining a robust scientific workforce into the 21st century.

Leading up to this current moment, members of these unions have engaged in rallies, meetings with key stakeholders, and have been engaged in good-faith negotiations with the UC Labor Relations team for the better part of a year. And yet, little to no progress has been made on key economic issues. Chiefly, the UC team has repeatedly refused to make substantive proposals on transit or housing or to include a cost of living adjustment in their wages proposals. To be clear, there can be no reasonable path forward without enshrining these common-sense measures into workers’ contracts.

Instead, UC has repeatedly broken labor law by bypassing the union, making unilateral changes to workers’ rights and benefits, refusing to provide information they are legally required to give, and engaging in direct intimidation of workers. Under labor law, these repeated unfair labor practices give workers in these unions the right to strike in order to stop these unjust actions and win a fair contract. We fully support this right.

We know UCSF and the broader UC system to be a leader in the pursuit of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in higher education and research. Most recently, Chancellor Hawgood reiterated our commitment to “funding efforts around wellbeing, social justice, and future of work” — all of which fall squarely in line with the unions’ proposals.

In closing, we vehemently urge the UC Labor Relations team to cease any and all unlawful labor practices, engage in good-faith bargaining, and agree to the unions’ bargaining demands to ensure a more just and sustainable UC and public scientific workforce.

The Science Policy Group at UCSF
Who are we?
SPG at UCSF serves as a platform for discussing science policy issues, providing resources & training for science policy education, and initiating advocacy within and beyond UCSF.

Our events and projects are entirely shaped by the interests of our incredible leadership members!

Example topics include: 
    -Research funding
    -Vaccine equity
    -Criminal legal system policy
    -Drug policy/harm reduction
    -Gender equity

Explore our leadership
What do we do?
SPG at UCSF hosts a wide variety of events every year.
View our events
Professional Development
Our professional development events help prepare our members to engage with policy as scientists, whether as a potential career or as a supplementary interest.
Skill building
We have held workshops on communication and advocacy skills, including effective use of social media and persuasive writing for elected officials and the public.
Policy career exploration
We have invited speakers to discuss their careers in science policy fields and help our members follow in their footsteps.
Beyond hosting events at UCSF, we advocate for issues we care about directly to people in power.
Advocacy training
We have hosted a variety of workshops to prepare members with no prior experience to visit the State Capitol and advocate for an issue of their choice, including an Advocacy 101 workshop, a Civic Engagement workshop series, and a policy Memo Writing workshop.
Advocacy opportunities
In addition to phone banking campaigns, we have organized advocacy visits to the CA State Capitol in Sacramento and have participated in the March For Science (D.C.) and CASE workshops.
Community Engagement
Many of our best and biggest events aim to engage the public beyond UCSF itself.
Mutual aid
Our biggest mutual aid action was a year-long Clean Hands project, where we distributed 2,200+ gallons of hand sanitizer in over 62,000 bottles to CA jails/prisons, the Navajo Nation and other underserved COVID-vulnerable communities.
Engaging with the democratic process
We have moderated the 2019 Last District Attorney debate, provided information about voting and voter registration, and hosted ballot measure pros & cons sessions.
Community education
We have provided many opportunities for the public to learn more about science and science policy, including a public screening of the documentary "Human Nature" and a series of panels about controversial “Hard Questions” like defunding the police and SF’s housing crisis.