“UC Berkeley Campus,” CC BY 2.0, Charlie Nguyen, On the morning of Nov. 14, UC academic workers went on strike, calling for increased salaries and more benefits. In the fifth week since the strike began, union leaders and UC reached a tentative deal.

UC academic workers demand more pay and benefits

0 0
Read Time2 Minute, 46 Second

On Monday, Nov. 14, academic workers from all 10 UC campuses went on strike, demanding that they receive higher wages and a greater number of benefits. The total number of academic workers on strike is approximately 48,000.

“I support the UC strike,” junior Brandon Pham said. “I feel like for too long, [student workers] overworking themselves for little pay and barely any benefits is becoming too normalized. For instance, my cousin in college worked as a physical therapist assistant for about three years and still only earned minimum wage. This strike stands against all of that and seeks to improve the lives of several stressful [student workers].”

According to the LA Times, the United Auto Workers (UAW) is a union that represents teaching assistants, tutors, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate student researchers. The number of UAW members is approximately 36,000. Union leaders demanded a base salary of $54,000 annually for graduate student workers, who currently have an average annual salary of $24,000. In response, UC proposed a 7% salary increase in assistants’ and tutors’ first years of working and a 3% salary increase in the following years. But the UAW said that the proposed increase is still not enough to support themselves financially, especially in respect to paying their rents. 

“I think that [the strike] is important because educators are people that others don’t pay attention to usually,” junior Madelyn Khem said. “[UC educators] are doing what’s best for them because changes need to be met with the changing world. Their pay is really bad considering that they are in charge of future generations.”

Furthermore, more than 1,000 UC faculty members held a rally on Dec. 2 at UCLA. They showed their support for the UAW by demanding that Governor Gavin Newsom push the UC system to “bargain” with members of the UAW. In addition to demanding increased salaries, the UAW is demanding child care subsidies, better healthcare for financially unstable workers, longer family leaves, public transit passes, lower tuition costs for international scholars, and better accessibility for disabled workers. 

“[Academic] workers are underpaid, and not only are they [not] sufficiently paid for their labor, they are expected to continue working under taxing conditions,” junior Apple Trieu said. “I fully support this strike and I hope that working conditions will be better in the future for all workers in education.”

Furthermore, a number of lectures, discussion groups (which help students further understand material taught during lectures), and office hours have been either canceled until the strike is over or moved online. Thus, the strike also had an impact on undergraduate UC students, who had their fall final exams during the beginning or middle of December. For UC’s that follow the quarter system, students’ fall final exams occurred during the week of Dec. 5, and for UC’s that follow the semester system (UC Merced and UC Berkeley), students’ fall final exams occurred during the week of Dec. 11. On Dec. 16, UC and union leaders reached a tentative deal to increase the salaries and benefits for the graduate student workers. The deal also included covering a part of international students’ tuition for up to three years. However, the strike is still ongoing until the deal is ratified, which has to be decided by Dec. 23.

Average Rating

5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *