As COLA movement gains UC-wide traction, UAW 2865 will hold Unfair Labor Practice Strike Authorization Vote

As COLA movement gains UC-wide traction, UAW 2865 will hold Unfair Labor Practice Strike Authorization Vote

Photo Credits: SHEREEN LEE / AGGIE FILE

Outcome of vote would affect over 19,000 academic workers, UC campuses plan solidarity actions for March 5

The Bargaining Team of United Auto Workers (UAW) 2865, which represents over 19,000 academic workers across the UC, said in a March 3 statement that the union will hold an Unfair Labor Practice Strike Authorization Vote in early April. A vote in favor of the strike would mean the union’s membership would stop grading, teaching and researching across all UCs. 

According to UAW 2865 president Kavitha Iyengar, the vote is a result of the union filing multiple Unfair Labor Practice charges against the UC for trying to circumvent the union through bargaining directly with graduate students or student-led organizations. 

“We will not sit back and allow the University to step on our rights without taking decisive measures,” Iyengar said.

The UAW 2865 statement follows the Feb. 28 decision to dismiss or not appoint 82 graduate students striking for a cost of living adjustment (COLA) at UC Santa Cruz to Spring Quarter positions after these students withheld Fall Quarter grades. According to a press release from the UC Davis COLA movement, over 20% of those fired were international students. 

Supporters of the COLA movement across UC campuses held rallies on March 2 in solidarity with those dismissed, with UCSF COLA supporters planning a solidarity event for March 4. COLA supporters at UCLA, UC Berkeley and UC Riverside plan to go on a day-long full strike on March 5. 

UC Berkeley COLA supporters also announced on March 3 that they plan to go on a full strike when they reach a “critical mass of strike readiness” — or 10 graduate departments in support of a strike. UC President Janet Napolitano cancelled a March 3 speaking engagement at UC Berkeley. 

At UC San Diego, out of 303 respondents who took a COLA strike poll that ended March 1, 61% said they would be willing to go on a full strike. Supporters of COLA at UCSD are planning a March 5 walk-out. 

At the UC Davis rally on March 2, hundreds of people gathered at the MU flagpole to show support for the fired graduate students. At the rally, doctoral student Kirin Rajagopalan said the COLA movement was about more than showing collective anger.

“It’s more than just getting into the streets,” Rajagopalan said. “[It’s] about building a future for all of us.” 

Written by: Janelle Salanga — campus@theaggie.org