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Davis, California

Saturday, April 13, 2024

48,000 UC academic workers strike for better wages across all 10 UC campuses

The union’s demands include salary increases, childcare reimbursements and dependent healthcare

By KAYA DO-KHANH — campus@theaggie.org

On Monday, Nov. 14, as early as 8 a.m., thousands of teaching assistants, graduate student instructors, readers and tutors across the University of California (UC) system went on strike to protest what the worker’s unions have said is “unlawful behavior” from the university system.

During the strike, many academic workers are walking off the job, ceasing to perform work duties related to teaching and research and are instead participating in picket lines across campuses to increase the visibility of the strike. According to the labor union UC Academic Workers 2865 (UAW 2865), the strike “will last until the University corrects its bad faith conduct or until union membership decides to cease striking.” 

Some of the issues that the unions are concerned with include salary increases, childcare reimbursements and dependent healthcare. The average salary of a graduate worker in the UC system is currently $23,000 a year.

“During many months of bargaining, we have made strong proposals to guarantee dignified compensation and equity in the workplace, but progress is being thwarted by UC’s unlawful conduct,” a statement from UAW 2865’s website reads. “The University has committed wide-ranging unfair labor practices impacting each of the four respective UAW units. These unlawful actions, be they bypassing the union, unilateral changes or failure to provide information, remain uncured and are impacting our ability to achieve necessary change at the bargaining tables with UC.”

According to UAW 2865, strike authorization votes were held from Oct. 26 to Nov. 2 across the campuses. There were a total of 36,558 total votes cast, with 98% of student-workers voting yes to authorize a multi-unit strike. The UC strike is the largest academic strike in U.S. history, with 48,000 UC academic workers across all 10 UC campuses participating. There will be picket lines on Russell Boulevard and College Park/Howard Way and Hutchison Drive and La Rue Road from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m during the strike.

On Nov. 10, Interim Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education John Marx sent a message to all UC Davis undergraduate students informing them of the strike. 

“Negotiations with the union are continuing in an effort to avoid a work stoppage, and we are hopeful about an agreement,” the message said. “That said, given the roles that graduate student employees play as instructors, TAs and tutors, you may experience classroom disruptions.”

Written by: Kaya Do-Khanh — campus@theaggie.org