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Disruptions Ahead

Disruptions Ahead

Inside Higher Ed

Colleen Flaherty
November 15, 2022
Four bargaining units representing 48,000 graduate teaching and research assistants, readers, tutors, postdoctoral scholars, and academic researchers across all 10 University of California campuses and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory went on indefinite strike Monday—accusing the university of unfair labor practice violations and of generally negotiating new contracts with them in bad faith.
Campus administrations have urged instructional continuity during the strike, but it’s unclear to what extent that will be possible, given the scale of the labor action and the apparent support for it. Some 98 percent of participating union members approved the strike in an authorization vote, suggesting that participation will be high. Thousands of members attended protests and picket lines on their campuses Monday. Numerous tenure-track and tenured professors have publicly expressed solidarity with striking workers, with some canceling classes this week. And while the UC system’s nontenured lecturers are contractually prohibited from participating in sympathy strikes, they’ve stated that they will not assume striking workers’ duties. (The International Brotherhood of Teamsters even reportedly told 53,000 unionized UPS drivers in California that they may skip deliveries to UC campuses during the strike.)
How long the strike will last is another open question. Beyond the various unfair labor practice claims, which are relatively common in contract negotiations, workers across all four United Auto Workers–affiliated units are demanding major pay increases, among other changes.
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