University of California strike ends with raises all around

University of California strike ends with raises all around

(The Center Square) – On December 23, 19,000 teaching assistants, graders, readers and tutors at United Auto Workers Local 2865, and 17,000 student researchers at Student Researchers United-UAW ratified new labor contracts with the University of California.

The vote tally for UAW 2865 was 11,386 to 7,097 in favor of the deal. The SRU-UAW vote was 10,057 to 4,640 for ratification. Under the terms of each agreement, the strike ends. UAW workers can return to their jobs with benefits in compensation, child care subsidies and paid time off, plus new protections against harassment and discrimination.

“The University of California welcomes the ratification of these agreements with our valued graduate student employees,” according to Letitia Silas, executive director of system-wide labor relations. “The university believed that the assistance of a third-party mediator would help the parties reach an agreement, which is why we are so grateful that the union accepted our invitation to mediate and joined us in electing Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg to serve as mediator.”

Mayor Steinberg was unable to comment on what was the key to mediating the 40-day strike. According to the UC, it made eight formal requests for private, neutral mediation before the UAW agreed to engage with the current mayor of the state capital and former California Senate President Pro Tem on Dec. 9.

“The dramatic improvements in our wages and working conditions are the result of tens of thousands of workers protesting together in unity,” said Rafael Jaime, President of UAW 2865, in a statement. “These agreements redefine what is possible in terms of how universities support their employees, who are the backbone of their research and education enterprise. They include particularly important improvements for parents and marginalized workers and will improve the quality of life for every academic employee at the University of California.

Within 90 days of ratification, UC teaching assistants and associate instructors will receive a 7.5% pay increase. Fellow teachers will have an increase of 8.9%. Hourly academic student employees will receive a 5 to 8% raise. By October 1, 2024, the minimum 9-month salary for teaching assistants with a 50% appointment will be $34,000. By October 1, 2024, the minimum salary scale for UC Berkeley, UCSF and UCLA teaching assistants will reach $36,500. Associate instructors and teaching associates will receive a 16.7% raise.

Further, union ratification of the two contracts also ends the Unfair Labor Practices complaints for labor law violations that the UAW had filed against UC through the California Public Employees Relations Board.

The two newly ratified UAW contracts with UC will run through May 31, 2025. In the 10-campus UC system, UAW 5810 representing postdoctoral researchers and academic researchers ratified a new five-year agreement with the University in a vote that ended Dec. 9.

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