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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Support student workers in UC contract negotiations


UC Student-Workers Union releases bargaining demands

The UC Student-Workers Union UAW Local 2865 recently made known its bargaining goals for its 2018 contract negotiations with the UC. There are 12 detailed demands, ranging from improved compensation to expanded childcare, which were drafted using feedback from surveys taken by over 4,000 members of the union.

The union represents job positions, such as readers, tutors and teaching assistants throughout the UC — most, but not all of these student workers are graduate students. The union currently represents over 16,000 Academic Student Employees.

As the Student-Workers Union enters into negotiations with the UC’s bargaining team, it is critical that the Union be supported by the larger campus community. The best interest of the Student-Workers Union is also the best interest of undergraduate students and faculty members.

In the previous contract negotiated between UAW Local 2865 and the UC in 2014, several of the terms agreed upon proved beneficial for the campus community as a whole. The 2014-18 contract includes access to lactation stations and gender-neutral restrooms on campus, to which individuals outside of the union now have access.

This contract also included provisions related to class size. Both parties agreed to terms that would allow for the establishment of committees “to track the ways teacher-student ratios are affecting the quality of UC education.” Teacher-student ratios directly affect both the teachers’ workloads and students’ access to their teachers.

Some of the noteworthy demands include the establishment of the UC as a sanctuary campus with legal and financial resources available for undocumented, immigrant and international students in the union; improved resources for student workers with disabilities; “socially responsible” UC investments and divestments and a reduction in class size and teacher-student ratios.

The Editorial Board feels it’s important that the UC Student-Workers Union be vocally supported as it enters into negotiations. These specific demands all have the potential, if won, to benefit UC-wide campus communities.

Additionally, the student workers’ minimal salaries are often used to pay rent and support families or dependents. It’s imperative that these workers be granted increased compensation and improved standards of living as well as expanded health care coverage and childcare options.

Student workers balance school, work, family and personal responsibilities. They work extremely hard: they grade assignments, hold office hours, act as resources for information and perform a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes work that goes largely unnoticed. The 12 demands they have highlighted are reasonable and fair.

The 2014-18 contract took almost one year to successfully negotiate. With negotiations for the new contract set to begin this year, we are in support of the UC Student-Workers Union and its demands.


Written by: The Editorial Board


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