Postdocs, academic researchers, graduate student researchers, trainees, fellows, graduate student instructors, readers, and tutors in the UC system go on strike
By Dolores Quintana
On November 4, the academic workers of the University of California schools, members of the UAW 5810, UAW 2865 and the newly-formed SRU-UAW local unions, announced their intention to strike if the UC schools did not meet their demands. The date they set for the Unfair Labor Practices strike to begin was November 14 and, true to their word, 48,000 academic workers went on strike Monday.
These unions comprise postdocs, academic researchers, graduate student researchers, trainees, fellows, graduate student instructors, readers, and tutors in the UC system.
The website, FairUCNow.org, says, “48,000 of us are bargaining four separate contracts with UC with the aim of making the University live up to its promise of being an engine of economic and social equity in our state. And for the first time, we are coordinating our contract campaigns so that all academic workers can overcome our unfair working conditions. We see our contracts as powerful tools we can use to ensure that academic workers are valued and empowered to fulfill the mission of UC as a truly public institution.”
The union website further explains that “We are fighting for a UC where first-generation scholars do not have to go into extreme debt so that highly-paid administrators can live in publicly-funded mansions. We are fighting for a UC in which workers are free from harassment and discrimination and earn enough money to live without excessive rent burden. We are fighting for a UC in which parents can raise their families without working second jobs, and everyone has access to sustainable and affordable transportation options. In short, we are fighting for a UC that works for its students and workers.”
The union received messages of support on social media from Representative Adam Schiff, who said, “Standing with the thousands of academic workers at the University of California on strike. These individuals work tirelessly to teach and tutor, sharing a broad range of expertise. And shaping the next generation. We should heed their calls for fair pay and child care.” and Anthony Rendon, California Assembly Speaker, “Academic workers are essential to the success of all our @UofCalifornia campuses. The UC must continue to bargain in good faith to reach an agreement with the @UAW.” California Assemblymember Ash Kalra wrote a letter that was signed by 32 of his colleagues in the State Assembly and tweeted, “I authored a letter signed-on by 32 colleagues urging the UC to bargain in good faith and come to terms w/their academic workers in order to avert a strike. Unfortunately, the administration failed to do so. We stand in solidarity with the @UAW strike at all 10 UC campuses!”
As of Thursday evening, the UC system and UCLA have not issued a statement on the strike.