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Graduate student union suspects UC of discrimination

By Kristen Taketa

Oct. 3, 2013 12:52 a.m.

A union representing graduate student workers recently submitted a complaint to the University of California, alleging the UC is discriminating in its hiring of graduate students.

The UC Student-Workers Union, Local 2865 of the United Auto Workers, is currently in the middle of negotiations with UC officials over wage increases and large class sizes, among other issues.

Cody Trojan, a recording secretary for the union and vice president of academic affairs for UCLA’s Graduate Student Association, said student workers suspect UC officials intentionally hire certain types of people over others based on race, gender or age. For example, they claim that more men and younger workers are hired than women or older employees.

In mid-August, union members requested data, including the salary, total earnings, appointment and classification for employees hired in different departments. Union members wish to see if certain units intentionally recruit employees of a particular demographic, Trojan said.

The UC already gave general aggregate data to the union in early August that showed demographics of hired workers.

At its most recent request, the union did not ask for data with employee identification numbers or other personal information. Trojan said the data requested would have been anonymous.

However, UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said the University did not give the union the requested data because the UC is legally not allowed to disclose the information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which protects students’ personal information.

Klein said the purpose of giving such information to unions is to ensure that they can make a thorough collective bargaining proposal, which the UC Student-Workers Union has already done.

“We have provided the info we can and we’re going to continue to bargain in good faith,” Klein said.

Klein added that the University will provide the union with the info it requests as long as it balances with students’ rights to privacy.

Compiled by Kristen Taketa, Bruin senior staff.

 

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