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Davis, California

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Letter to the Editor: UC quality pushes workers to strike votes

The University of California’s union TAs, readers, custodians, hospital workers, technical employees and more are all holding strike authorization votes this week. Graduate student-workers are voting Nov. 4 to 6, service workers voted Oct. 29 and 30, and professional and technical employees have already voted 92 percent in favor to authorize a strike.

These union workers have been meeting with a series of Unfair Labor Practices from the UC — including intimidating striking service workers last spring and withholding information from TAs during their negotiations for a new contract. And all of these unions have emphasized the need to fight to defend the UC’s status as a top education and research university: smaller discussions so they can attend to undergraduate students, more competitive funding for graduate students to keep the UC a top research university, better patient care in UC hospitals, increased hours to clean campus buildings.

The call for a strike vote from UAW 2865, the union of UC readers and TAs, came last week in a meeting here at UC Davis in Wellman Hall, with representatives from every UC campus and dozens of rank-and-file Davis graduate student-workers participating. What does this strike vote mean? It means not that there will be an immediate strike, but that union officers are authorized to call a strike if circumstances merit.

With TAs increasingly expressing concerns that current large classes simply do not allow them to give their students the individual attention they will need, circumstances are already desperate. Voting is just a first step, but it demonstrates the severity of problems at UC.

 

Caroline McKusick

Anthropology Ph.D. student

Guide, UAW 2865 Student-Workers’ Union

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