UAW Picketing Continues at UCLA and All UC Campuses

As the sun rises over the UCA campus, hundreds of UAW members from several bargaining units are on the picket line. This is day four of their strike statewide at 10 Campuses, representing 48,000 researchers, Teaching Assistants and graduate students. The system is gigantic with 280,000 students and 230,000 faculty and staff.

This strike, a year and 50 bargaining sessions in the making, is the largest at any academic institution in history. The workers, perform the majority of teaching and research in the state’s premier university system. Their unified action, pickets, support from professors and overwhelming majority of students, triggered canceled classes, shuttered labs weeks before final exams. The strike also included workers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Unionists are demanding significant pay increases, child-care subsidies, enhanced healthcare for dependents, longer family leave, public transit passes and lower tuition costs for international scholars. The majority of their members “rent-burdened,” or spending more than 30% of their income on rent. The unions are asking that pay be tied to increases in the local cost of living, including housing so that no one pays more than 30% of their salary toward housing costs.

Rafael Jaime, a UCLA doctoral candidate and president of United Auto Workers Local 2865, which represents 19,000 teaching assistants, tutors and other academic workers on strike. He told the LA Times, “If the university has a better proposal that seriously addresses the housing crisis, we’re ready and willing to hear it,” Jaime said.

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