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University of California

University Of California Is Escalating Its Crackdown On Dissent

Just before the Fourth of July weekend, postdoctoral scholar Jessica Ng, graduate student William Schneider, and another graduate student at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), were arrested by campus police on charges of felony vandalism over $400 and conspiracy to commit a crime. They were arrested at their homes (where their personal items were confiscated including keys, phones and at least one computer), taken to San Diego county jails, and held overnight on $20,000 bail each. Their crime? Allegedly writing slogans like ​“Living Wage Now” on a concrete campus building — in washable markers and chalk — during a peaceful protest almost a month earlier.

What Message Does A ‘Vote No’ Campaign Send?

In December, the contract bargaining team for Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2865 brought back a tentative agreement with the University of California and presented it to its membership of teaching assistants, graders and tutors for ratification. A lively “vote no” campaign arose. A vote no campaign sends a very public message. Does it tell the boss that the union is divided, and therefore weak, or does it warn the boss that members are ready to fight for more? What does it say about the union and the union leadership? When members vote on ratification of a contract, the main issue is trust—whether in the contents of the deal, the process, or both.

UC Graduate Students’ Bargaining Committee Drops Core Demands

Academic workers at the University of California (UC), who are entering their second month on the picket line, are internally weighing strategic questions about how their union should move forward with negotiations. Roughly 36,000 graduate teaching and research workers, represented by two different United Auto Workers (UAW) locals, remain on strike after a third UAW local representing 11,000 UC postdocs signed a five-year contract with the university and returned to work December 9. UAW Local 2865 is the largest of the UC unions on strike. It represents some of the university’s lowest-paid workers—about 19,000 teaching assistants, tutors and readers, some of whom make an estimated $24,000 a year.

A Communiqué From The Liberated Dining Halls Of So-Called Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, California - The colonial capitalist university will never win. Union sell-outs and scabs will never win. Here at so-called Santa Cruz, we declare and express our solidarity to all communities in struggle. Today, along with comrades across so-called California, we are engaging in a transterritorial attack on UC incorporated and what they call food insecurity, a condition created by their capitalist greed. These spaces, like the dining commons, are spaces we understand as battlegrounds of the ongoing war against subsistence, where proles take up the war against capital by expropriating dining halls and feeding one another.

How Academic Workers’ Leverage Can Grow In A Long-Haul Strike

California - Forty-eight thousand academic workers have been on strike across the 10 campuses of the University of California since November 14. It’s the biggest strike in the country this year. The strikers are in four bargaining units—teaching assistants, student researchers, postdoctoral scholars, and academic researchers—all affiliated with the United Auto Workers. The following speeches were written for and read out at the Strike to Win Assembly on December 6 at UC Berkeley. This assembly was put together by rank-and-file members from the humanities, social sciences, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in UAW Local 2865 and Student Researchers United (SRU-UAW) in order to develop strategies for a building a longer, sustainable strike across campus.

We Need To Transform What It Means to Be An Academic Worker

When it comes to corporate news media coverage of labor actions, there are unfortunately a few tropes to look out for, even in 2022. First, while strikes in other countries may be presented as signs of freedom, in the US they will often be presented in terms of the disruption they cause. The New York Times’ November 14 report on the strike by some 48,000 University of California teaching assistants, researchers and others gave skimming readers the shorthand “highlight” that these people “walked off the job Monday, forcing some classes to be canceled.” “Classes were disrupted, research slowed and office hours canceled,” the paper noted, “only a few weeks away from final examinations.” Whatever an article goes on to say, the “harmful disruption” presentation encourages readers to understand that the status quo before the action was not harmful and did not disrupt, and that worker actions are therefore willful, selfish and possibly malignant.

Biggest Academic Strike In US History Continues

After over two weeks of the largest higher education strike in US history, postdoctoral employees and academic researchers at the University of California have reached a tentative agreement with the UC system. The agreement will lead to significant wage increases, one of the key demands of the striking workers. However, these university employees will continue the strike action in solidarity with the 36,000 graduate student employees whose demands are yet to be met.After over two weeks of the largest higher education strike in US history, postdoctoral employees and academic researchers at the University of California have reached a tentative agreement with the UC system. The agreement will lead to significant wage increases, one of the key demands of the striking workers. However, these university employees will continue the strike action in solidarity with the 36,000 graduate student employees whose demands are yet to be met.

The Academic Proles On The Barricades

In her 2019 book Squeezed, Alissa Quart gave a name to the middle class that was just getting by in today’s middle-class-unfriendly economy: the middle precariat. One group that may just manage to ascend, wobbily, to the ranks of the precarious middle are the 12,000 striking postdoctoral scholars who reached a tentative agreement with the University of California earlier today to boost their wages and benefits. Under the agreement, which will shortly be presented to the postdocs for an up-or-down vote, the scholars will receive raises of between 20 percent and 23 percent to take effect next year, as well as a couple thousand dollars in child care assistance. By my very rough calculations, that should put them in the lower ranks of the mid-precar, with annual incomes in the mid-40 thousands—not enough to get a decent rental in coastal California, but able to buy a good-sized car to sleep in.

This Year’s Biggest Strike Is By 48,000 University Of California Workers

California - Across the prestigious University of California system, tens of thousands of workers walked off the job last week for the nation’s largest strike of 2022, and the largest strike of academic workers in U.S. history. The energy was palpable as nearly 5,000 academic workers gathered at UC-Berkeley’s campus November 14 to launch our strike. Any last-minute worries dissolved as I stepped onto campus and heard my colleagues, strike captains, undergraduate students, and community members chanting, “48,000 workers strong, we can fight all day long!” Over the first week of our strike we shut down classes and lab operations, felt the solidarity from Teamsters drivers and building trades workers who honored our 5 a.m. pickets, marched with our students to the university president’s mansion, and showed the UC just how organized we are—and how ready we are to win big.

Largest Strike In The Country Unfolds Across All Ten UC Campuses

Berkeley, California – 48,000 UAW-represented employees of the University of California will walk off the job and onto the picket line as a multi-unit, statewide Unfair Labor Practices strike begins this morning. UAW represents Academic Workers across ten campuses and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, including Teaching Assistants, Postdocs, Academic Student Employees, Graduate Student Researchers, Academic Researchers, Readers, Tutors and more. Together they perform the majority of teaching and research at UC. “We have been bargaining throughout the weekend and while important progress has been made, we are still far apart on many of the issues that will make UC a more equitable university: dignified compensation that addresses the crisis of affordable housing, access to transportation benefits so those who must commute can do so affordably and with a minimal carbon footprint, Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition Remission, and appointment lengths,” said Rafael Jaime, President of UAW 2865.

48,000 Unionized Workers Across University Of California Begin Voting On Strike Authorization

California - The three UC unions under the United Auto Workers (UAW) — Student Researchers United (SRU), UAW 5810 representing both postdoctoral and academic student researchers in separate bargaining units and UAW 2865 representing teaching assistants (TA), graduate student instructors, tutors and readers — each Organized strike votes across their four bargaining units from Oct. 26 through Nov. 2. If passed, the votes would give respective unions the power to call a strike should they choose, but would not guarantee they will. UAW 2865’s recording secretary, fourth-year UC Santa Barbara history Ph.D. candidate and TA Janna Haider is one of two representatives from UCSB on the union’s bargaining team.

Education Reparation: UC Tuition Scholarships For Natives Are Just

The University of California system is one of the largest and most prestigious post-secondary educational institutions in the country. Its beginnings 170 years ago were as fraught as they were humble. The Morrill Act enabled the creation of land-grant colleges, which were resourced by the sale of federal lands. These lands were, in many cases, stewarded by tribes, and they ended up in the hands of the federal government sometimes by treaty and often through seizure. Although a critical driving force behind California’s continued economic and technological successes, UC has not been sufficiently accessible to the very people whose dispossession was core to its founding. In a monumental move, the State of California is looking to correct historical injustice and promote greater inclusiveness of Native Americans, a group that to this day encounters numerous systemic barriers to post-secondary education.

California’s Grim Genocidal Past Implicates University Of California

The United States of America is founded on the original sin of Native American genocide and the myth that the Indigenous Peoples that lived on these lands for thousands of years had no right to it. White settler colonialism is not just a stain on the country’s history, it is its very raison d’etre. To this day, all non-Native Americans live on stolen land. The prosperous, liberal state of California is not exempt from this original sin, nor has it made reparations for the devastation of Indigenous Peoples and their lands. In a recently reissued book, Tony Platt, the acclaimed author of 10 books and professor emeritus who taught at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Chicago, and California State University, Sacramento, uncovers another more recent abhorrence committed against Native Californians by one of the state’s most revered institutions, the University of California, Berkeley.

UC Santa Cruz Reinstates Graduate Students After Months-Long Strike

The University of California has agreed to reinstate 41 UC Santa Cruz graduate student workers who were fired in March after waging a months-long ‘wildcat’ strike. The strike for a cost of living adjustment galvanized students at nearly every single campus in the UC’s 285,000-student system. Last week, following months of protests, campus negotiations, and outcry from elected officials, the University of California agreed to reinstate the 41 teaching assistants. The university also agreed to offer the 41 students, who had lost their teaching appointments, an additional quarter of funding and an employment guarantee for the upcoming academic year.

Barricades Go Up In Santa Cruz As UC Wide Wildcat Strike Expands Following Firings

Starting at around 4:30 AM, barricades went up outside of the entrances to the University of California in Santa Cruz (UCSC), effectively shutting down the campus. Over the next 8 hours, thousands of students, faculty, and staff took part in mass rallies and marches across almost the entire UC system, as more campuses announced that they were also joining the wildcat strike which had begun in Santa Cruz in early February.
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