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UCSC Graduate Student Workers Receive Demands, Cancel Strike
Graduate Student Workers at UC Santa Cruz announced on March 4 that, after two days of discussions, management has given in to all of their demands. The results: No more underpaid undergrad TAs, back pay ($6000 each) for all those who've already been in that position, serious reduction in TA workload for poorly planned Arts department classes, and a committee established to make recommendations for class-sizes with equal voices for labor and management.
Announcement from UAW 2865:
We are excited to announce that the UAW 2865 and UCSC have reached an agreement over the grievances pushing us to strike. As a result, tomorrow’s scheduled strike has been cancelled.
The strike was planned because of UCs refusal to settle two grievances, one which seriously degraded TA position’s pay and benefits and another which involved excessive workload. However, in the last hour, after setting up mediation in response to the strike, the UCs agreed to all of our demands, so we are writing to tell you the strike is called off.
The 28 undergraduate students who in the past year worked in what were essentially TA positions but paid and benefitted at roughly a quarter of what a TA earns will be receiving full back pay and fee remissions. The university has agreed that we should value TA work and discontinue the practice of devaluing these positions and will be remitting past workers roughly $6,000 for each quarter they worked. Further, there is good reason to hope that some of these positions will be available as future TAships. The Math department will still need TAs for their introductory classes.
The Teaching Assistants who were scheduled for 13.5 hours of classroom time for their introductory Arts Division class will now be in class for 10 hours. This will likely make it possible for them to provide quality education – including grading, reading, class prep, email responses, etc. - within their 20 hour maximum hour limit. The university also agreed to immediately set up a joint Labor Management Committee to oversee workload concerns. This committee’s first task will involve assessing other similar courses in the Arts Division.
We want to give tremendous thanks to all the people supporting this strike especially the many members who signed up to picket in spite of management’s claims that this strike was illegal. The Autonomous Students, the Santa Cruz Faculty Association, AFT Local 2199, The Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, The Building Trades Council, and United Transportation Union Local 23 all agreed to respect and join our picket line and ask their members for support. We’d also like to thank the GSA for help with communications, and AFSCME 3299 and UAW 5810 for their valued support. And finally, thanks to the university negotiators and mediators for their efforts to solve what for us was a very serious set of problems.
Plans for Tomorrow
The Autonomous Students are still planning to rally at Quarry Plaza at 2:30 tomorrow [March 5] to protest Janet Napolitano’s presidency and in support of campus workers demands. The UAW is still in contract negotiations and could definitely use their support, and they deserve it on their own - please come out to support them. We are also thinking about a union party, but haven’t yet figured out the details.
Your Local UAW Organizing Committee