University of California workers continue strike amid threat of arrests – The Guardian US

Strike of 48,000 is largest in history of US higher education as some workers protest at offices of high-level university administrators
Tens of thousands of academic workers throughout the University of California are currently on their fourth week of striking for a new union contract and the situation is intensifying amid the threat of arrests after direct actions by some strikers.
The strike of 48,000 academic workers, including graduate workers, academic researchers, postdoctoral scholars and teaching assistants, began on 14 November and is the largest in the history of higher education in the US.
This week workers have participated in numerous direct actions across the state, protesting at the offices of high-level university administrators as academic workers are pushing for pay increases, job security protections, childcare reimbursements, sustainable transit incentives and stronger disability accommodations.
Seventeen people were cited for trespassing during a sit-in protest on 5 December at the University of California president’s office in Sacramento.
“I’m engaging in this act of civil disobedience because the stakes are incredibly high, and the UC is not demonstrating that they understand that,” said Jess Banks, a member of the bargaining team at UC Berkeley, in a statement. “UC thinks they can end negotiations and send us back to work, but this strike will continue until they stop breaking the law and settle a fair contract.”
On 7 December, 10 academic workers from UCLA were arrested at the University of California’s regents office on trespassing charges.
About 12,000 postdoctoral researchers and academic researchers reached a tentative agreement with the University of California on 29 November, which included pay increases up to 29%, but have continued striking in solidarity with other academic workers still pushing for a deal and while the agreement is put to the membership for a vote.
Michael Dean, a PhD candidate in the history department at UCLA and bargaining committee member with UAW Local 2865, said the most recent offer from the university included language that would demand the union halt the strike before membership votes on whether to approve or reject the tentative agreement.
“They are trying to cut off negotiations,” said Dean. “There’s just an impasse of will on the UC’s part, so we’ve been organizing these direct actions all over the state to call on the UC to make more progress in addressing the economic precarity that grad workers face.”
Graduate workers at UC have reported issues in affording rent, food and basic necessities in the cities they work and live in on salaries averaging about $23,000 annually.
“We’re preparing to come back with counter proposals of our own,” added Dean. “In terms of the strike and the pickets, we’re out here every day and we’re not planning to go away until they offer us fair contracts.”


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