In the third week of strikes across UC campuses, select groups of unionized workers within the University of California have reached tentative negotiation agreements as of Tuesday, Nov. 24.
In the latest round of negotiations, UC postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers agreed to salary increases and workplace improvements, according to statements from the University Office of The President. While there are many aspects of the agreement, updated terms include implementation of a new salary scale which will result in average salary increases of 8% for postdoctoral scholars beginning in April 2023, and an initial 4.5% salary increase for first year academic researchers.
Letitia Silas, Executive Director of Labor Relations for University of California Systemwide Human Resources, praised the move in a statement.
“Our dedicated colleagues are vital to UC’s research activities and we are very pleased to have reached agreements that honor their many important contributions,” said Silas. “These agreements also uphold our tradition of supporting these employees with compensation and benefits packages that are among the best in the country.”
In addition to salary increases, postdoctoral scholars agreed to $2,500 in child care reimbursements. Academic researchers will receive pay increases of 4.5% the first year, 3.5% between two and four years, and a 4% increase the fifth year.
Both researchers and postdoctoral scholars agreed to eight weeks of full pay for family care, or postdoctoral leave.
However, the strike will go on, as more than 30,000 unionized workers continue to hold out for all union contract demands to be met. Workers continue to argue that the UC is not honoring the cost of living and say rent burdens have become too expensive to afford.
On Wednesday, Nov. 29, groups of student workers at UC Irvine circled Bren Hall during the Noyce Initiative Research Showcase, which was attended by members of the UC Irvine administration.
#HappeningNow: #UCStrike picket line encircling Bren Hall for the @ucisocsci Noyce Research Showcase, attended by several @UCIrvine admins, Deans, & Chancellors #FairUCNow @UniCalifornia @uaw2865 @uawuci pic.twitter.com/3mq8sn3I6r
— Stephanie Narrow is STRIKING (@HER_storian) November 30, 2022
On Thursday, Dec. 1, the UC Student-Workers Union UAW 2865, representing 19,000 teaching assistants and tutors, shared highlights of its latest wage proposals to the UC via Twitter. Originally posted on Wednesday evening, the union mistakenly tweeted salaries would increase 79%, but the true increase was 39%.
(1/5) Highlights of our new wages proposal passed to UC last night, reposted with correction to percentage increase:
-Raise TAs’ base wage by 39%, lifting it from $2,583 to $3,585 per month ($43,020 annually)
— UC Student-Workers Union UAW 2865 (@uaw2865) December 1, 2022
However, in the effort to correct itself, the union was criticized by workers who complained that the union’s latest proposal did not meet worker demands.
Amanda Daria Stoltz, a coastal social scientist and Ph.D. candidate at UC Santa Cruz, called out the union representatives in a reply to UAW 2865. “This is… not what we asked for. Are our union reps worried they’ll be out of a job if they support us in our fight for a livable wage as the cost of living continues to increase?” she tweeted.
This is… not what we asked for. Are our union reps worried they'll be out of a job if they support us in our fight for a livable wage as the cost of living continues to increase? #NoCOLANoContract
— Amanda Daria Stoltz (@science_barbie) December 1, 2022
It is unclear when contract negotiations will continue for other unionized workers.
More than 40,000 unionized student workers within the University of California system, including UC Irvine, went on strike Monday, Nov. 15, protesting the UC system’s inability to meet the demands of union proposals.
The picket line of student workers consisting of teaching assistants, researchers, graduate students and other campus employees across California are demanding the Chancellor’s office reconsider its position on several aspects impacting the well-being of UC employees, including higher wages, child care reimbursement increases and guaranteed job security.
At UC Irvine, final exams are set to begin on Dec. 4.
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