December 16, 2022
The University of California reached a tentative labor deal on Friday with 36,000 academic workers, which if approved by members will end a strike that has lasted one month and disrupted the 10-campus system at the end of its fall term. The agreement gives increased pay and better benefits to teaching assistants and graduate student researchers.
“This is a positive step forward for the University and for our students, and I am grateful for the progress we have made together,” Michael Drake, UC’s systemwide president, said in a statement. “Our Academic Student Employees and Graduate Student Researchers are central to our academic enterprise and make incredible contributions to the University’s mission of research and education. These agreements will place our graduate student employees among the best supported in public higher education.”
The agreement will be voted on next week by the union’s members.
The contract would include raises of up to 66%, or $13,000 in annual pay at some campuses, said Tarini Hardikar, a member of the union’s bargaining team, in a statement. “In addition to incredible wage increases, the tentative agreements also include expanded benefits for parent workers, greater rights for international workers, protections against bullying and harassment, improvements to accessibility, workplace protections, and sustainable transit benefits.”
The strike initially involved 48,000 workers. UC reached agreements in late November with postdocs and academic researchers.
As the remaining 36,000 workers approached a fifth week on strike, UC and the union agreed on Dec. 9 to enter mediation. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg was chosen as that mediator and helped the two sides resolve their outstanding issues.
Steinberg said in a statement Friday that the two sides “reached a principled solution” and “deserve enormous credit for what they did to transform graduate education in the world’s most dynamic university system.”
“The union fought hard to ensure that the university’s graduate students make a living wage at every campus community. They and the University achieved a new national standard for members,” he added.