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  • Workers at the University of California agree to stop their strike
  • December 17, 2022

University of California: A high-profile strike that has interrupted the prestigious, 10-campus public university system for more than a month may be coming to an end after the University of California and academic workers announced a tentative labor agreement on Friday.

36,000 unionized workers

About 36,000 unionized workers, including teaching assistants, researchers, and tutors many of whom are graduate students promise to see significant salary increases as a result of the agreement.

Over the following two and a half years, the salaries of the lowest paid academic student employees, who currently start at about $23,000 per academic year, would grow by more than 55%, with extra increases at schools in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, where housing is particularly pricey.

Additionally, their advantages for health and childcare would be significantly increased.

Classes were disrupted at all 10 sites of the university system due to the walkout. Before the strike is declared to be over, the deal still needs to be ratified.

Some employees may receive raises of up to 66% over the next two years, according to the bargaining units. The agreements would be in effect until May 31, 2025.

The UC Berkeley union bargaining team member Tarini Hardikar stated in a news release on Friday that the tentative agreements “include incredible wage increases, expanded benefits for parent workers, greater rights for international workers, protections against bullying and harassment, improvements to accessibility, workplace protections, and sustainable transit benefits.”

According to the bargaining units, some employees’ 2.5-year contracts will receive hikes of up to 66%.

Rafael Jaime, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the head of a bargaining unit that represents about 19,000 teaching assistants, tutors, and other classroom employees, called the agreement “a huge deal” and one that will “go a long way toward addressing the high cost of living near U.C. campuses.”

In a news release on Friday, University of California president Michael V. Drake noted that thanks to these agreements, graduate student employees at the university would be among the best supported in public higher education.

If accepted, these contracts will recognize their important work and permit us to keep luring the best academic talent from all around California and the globe.

“I want to congratulate and thank the UAW and the University of California for reaching this important deal today. Together, the sides resolved a challenging deadlock by coming to a principled agreement, “announced on Friday Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who helped with the negotiations.

The increase in benefits and salary could have an effect outside of California. Colleges and universities have been relying more and more on faculty and graduate student employees to conduct the teaching and research that was formerly done by tenure-track academics, but at a lower wage and benefit level.

He claimed that, like the other strikes, the one at UC is “giving direction to demonstrate that strikes are very forceful means of obtaining goals.”

With approximately 300,000 students, the University of California system is the largest research engine for a state that is essential to the most inventive industries in the country.

University of California

The strike brought to light how much the universities depend on the graduate students, researchers, and postdoctoral fellows who guide discussion groups, host office hours, mark exams, and work in research labs.

The work stoppage was one of the biggest in the country during a time of labor unrest in the United States, and the U.A.W. claims it was the biggest at a university in American history.

I want to express my gratitude to Mayor [Darrell] Steinberg and the negotiators for the university and the UAW for working together to come to this provisional agreement. For the University of California, this is a step in the right direction.

This week, protesters entered a meeting where the Board of Regents was debating whether to allow U.C.L.A.’s athletic teams to join the Big Ten Conference and chanted, “Shut it down!” for hours. This came after a rally outside the U.C.L.A. Luskin Center featuring the lead singer of Rage Against the Machine.

The strike occurred at a time when there was an uptick in labour unrest across the country, including among employees at Starbucks, Amazon, and other businesses, as well as a wave of unionisation efforts among graduate student workers at other colleges.

Just this year, graduate student workers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, New Mexico State University, Clark University, Fordham University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology all voted in support of unionisation.

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