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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | Education & Student Activism | Labor & Workers
UCSC Graduate Student Workers Plan to Strike April 2-3
The statewide union for Graduate Student Workers, UAW Local 2865, has voted for a two-day strike to call for an end to UC intimidation of members and refusal to bargain over class size. On day one of the strike, certain campuses (like UCSC) will be striking over unfair labor practices that particularly impact members on their campuses. On day two of the strike, members will join together from all campuses, calling for a statewide strike to protest numerous Unfair Labor Practices (ULPs). UCSC will strike for 2 days - April 2-3.
Here is a video that talks about the issues that inspired this strike. It stars UCSC's own Lisa Beebe from Music: https://vimeo.com/88968550 It emphasizes April 3 as strike day because that is the day focusing on class size.
Unfair Labor Practices: Refusal to Negotiate over TA/Student Ratios and other Mandatory Topics of Bargaining:
• In December, UC management’s lead negotiator asserted that the issue of TA/student ratios was not a mandatory subject of bargaining, and that she had no interest in negotiating over this issue. Labor law is clear: the ratio of students to teacher, like the ratio of nurses to patients, is a mandatory subject of bargaining.
• At the same bargaining session, management insisted that the 18 quarter limitation on teaching assignments rule was not a mandatory subject of bargaining. Again, labor law is clear: management must negotiate over the terms of employment, including terms, such as the 18 quarter rule, that affect workers’ eligibility for rehire or that limit the duration of their eligibility for employment. The UC Student Workers Union has recently filed a charge with the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) against management for their refusal to bargain over TA/student ratios and over the 18 quarter rule.
Unfair Labor Practices: Unlawful Intimidation of Workers
UC administrators are barred under labor law from interfering with collective actions taken by workers, including petitioning managers, or, under certain circumstances, engaging in strikes. Last fall, on a number of occasions, representatives of UC management unlawfully interfered with graduate student workers’ rights to take collective action.
• On November 20, UC student workers engaged in a one-day solidarity strike with service and health care workers represented by AFSCME 3299. In the days preceding the strike, management representatives sent misleading and intimidating emails to student workers in an attempt to discourage them from engaging in this protected strike. At UCLA, administrators sent an email warning international student workers that participation in the strike could result in the loss of their work visas, which allow them to remain in the country legally. At UC Irvine, graduate division sent emails to teaching assistants saying they were responsible for avoiding “disruption” of classes, while at UC Davis workers were informed (falsely) that participating in the strike was unlawful. At UC Berkeley, Vice Chancellor Breslauer sent an email encouraging deans and department chairs to inform graduate students that the strike was unlawful and that “they must meet their scheduled teaching responsibilities.” A number of chairs sent along this and other misleading emails designed to pressure UAW workers against striking. Our union has filed an charge with PERB over these incidents, and is awaiting a preliminary ruling.
• On October 29, approximately 50 student workers at UC Berkeley gathered to deliver a letter, signed by 750 workers, to the Graduate Dean about student worker living and working conditions. When those assembled arrived at the Dean’s office, they were met with a locked door and a handful of police officers, who soon began filming those who gathered quietly outside of the Dean’s office. Labor law is very clear: it is unlawful for police officers working for employers to film protected activities undertaken by employees, such as delivering a letter. When police officers film employees, this has a chilling effect on the political activities of those filmed, who may fear retaliation on the job. Similarly, at UCSC members were filmed during the November 20th strike. Our union filed ULP charges with the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) and PERB issued an initial ruling stating that management’s acts do constitute an unfair labor practice.
• Finally, in the week preceding the planned AFSCME and UAW strike of the week of March 2 2014, administrators at UCSC threatened our members with retaliation if they participated in the upcoming strike activities. This is obviously illegal and the basis for a ULP for which we are currently completing the investigation and filing with PERB.