UAW ratifies contracts for graduate student workers, ends historic UC-wide strike
United Auto Workers union members protest in Bruin Plaza. University of California academic workers will end their nearly six-week long strike, as the final major bargaining units ratified contracts Friday. (Jeremy Chen/Assistant Photo editor)
Dec. 23, 2022 8:22 p.m.
This post was updated Jan. 11 at 12:34 a.m.
Academic student employees and graduate student researchers represented by United Auto Workers unions ratified a new contract with the University of California on Friday, ending their nearly six-week strike.
The bargaining teams for UAW Local 2865 and Student Researchers United-UAW – which represent academic student employees such as teaching assistants and graduate student researchers respectively – reached tentative contract agreements with the UC on Dec. 16 and began voting to ratify the contract Monday. Nearly 62% of UAW Local 2865’s membership and 69% of SRU-UAW’s membership voted to ratify their new, separate contracts, according to a UAW press release.
UAW Local 2865 and SRU-UAW agreed to enter private third-party negotiations, mediated by mayor of Sacramento and former UAW member Darrell Steinberg, with the UC on Dec. 9, a month after the strike began.
The contracts – which last for two and a half years – will increase wages for all workers, including pay increases of up to 80% for some with the lowest compensations. They also include remission for three years of nonresident student tuition for international workers, increased childcare benefits and anti-harassment measures, according to a UAW press release.
“Today’s ratification demonstrates yet again the University’s strong commitment to providing every one of our hardworking employees with competitive compensation and benefit packages that honor their many contributions to our institution, to our community, and to the state of California,” said Letitia Silas, executive director of systemwide labor relations, in a UC press release.
UAW Local 5810, which represents postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers, previously ratified its own new contracts Dec. 9 and ended its nearly monthlong strike.
All UC academic workers will return to regular work at the start of winter quarter, said Chancellor Gene Block in a campuswide email.
“The rights we secured today will help ensure that victims of harassment and discrimination aren’t forced off their career paths, will make UC more family-friendly, and take important steps towards paying us what we are worth,” said Tarini Hardikar, an SRU-UAW bargaining team member at UC Berkeley, in the UAW press release. “It (the contract) will help ensure that UC can support a diverse workforce, which will improve the quality of research and teaching across the system.”