April 14, 2014
By Neal Tepel
UAW 2865 representing student workers across the University of California system struck statewide for two days, April 2nd and 3rd. The union's complaints include: the UC administration regularly threatening and intimidating UAW workers, the college refusing to negotiate with union representatives, UC’s lack of respect for the union, unlawfully videotaping union members participating in demonstrations and civil disobedience, and the university threatening to invalidate international students’ visa status for participating in union activity.
According to Duane Wright, UAW 2865 Davis unit chair,the college refuses to negotiate issues of concern to UAW members such as class size, salary, working conditions and benefits. They still haven’t given us proposals, Wright said. “They don’t even want to talk to us. We’re just saying they need to start bargaining.”
The issue of class size came up repeatedly throughout the day of the strike since UAW 2865 represents teaching assistants (TAs), graduate student instructors, readers and graduate and undergraduate tutors.
The University is increasing class size to accommodate the growing number of students flowing into the UC system every year. TAs have reqested to UC that employees be compensated for additional responsibilities linked to class size.
UAW and UC are still bargaining to achieve a fair contract. Many union. members believe the decision to strike was due to UC’s lack of respect for union members and the union..
“It doesn’t seem that they respect our right to strike,” Wright said. “We have to push back and say you can’t break labor laws. You have to respect our rights.”