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UC academic service workers announce second strike

By Kristen Taketa

May 23, 2014 2:02 a.m.

University of California teaching assistants announced this week they will go on strike during finals week if the University does not meet their collective bargaining demands before then.

The UC Student-Workers Union, UAW Local 2865, which represents about 12,000 UC teaching assistants, readers and other academic student employees, is one of only two systemwide bargaining units that have not yet reached a contract agreement with the UC. UAW 2865 represents about 2,000 academic student employees at UCLA.

The union is asking the University to decrease class sizes, increase its employees’ pay and allow undocumented students to be paid as teaching assistants, said Josh Brahinsky, a UC Santa Cruz student and a member of UAW 2865’s bargaining team.

Late last month, the union reached tentative agreement with the University on the issue of access to gender-neutral bathrooms.

The union has also threatened to strike because it believes the UC has acted against the union for engaging in legal strike activities. Last month, during the first day of a strike at UC Santa Cruz, students were arrested for blocking the entrance of a campus roadway.

Shelly Meron, a UC spokeswoman, said if the union does go on strike next month, it will be detrimental to students and faculty.

“We are very disappointed that they choose to go on strike during finals week, which is crucial to students and faculty who want to finish on a good note,” Meron said. “They should not be put in the labor dispute.”

Meron said the UC would not comment on the detainment of the UC Santa Cruz students, saying it is a police matter.

Compiled by Kristen Taketa, Bruin senior staff. Contributing reports by Jeong Park, Bruin contributor.

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