University of California Strike Victory

by Joseph Hancock

Sacramento, CA – Four weeks into the largest higher-education strike in American history, 17 striking Academic Workers were arrested at the Sacramento office of the University of California Office of the President. These arrests took place while two thousand striking workers gathered outside for a march and rally at the Capitol building, and while a group of workers simultaneously staged a sit-in at the UC Office of the President office in Oakland.

“I’m engaging in this act of civil disobedience because the stakes are incredibly high, and the UC is not demonstrating that they understand that,” said Jess Banks, a member of the bargaining team at UC Berkeley. “UC thinks they can end negotiations and send us back to work, but this strike will continue until they stop breaking the law and settle a fair contract.’

Earlier in the day, hundreds of workers protested outside the Los Angeles mansion of UC Regent and United Talent Agency CEO Jay Sures. At the same time, dozens of workers gathered outside the Corona Del Mar home of major UC Irvine donor Henry Samueli.

“Instead of bargaining in good faith, the University of California has forced their workers to take drastic action to call attention to their unfair labor practices and unlivable wages. Our living conditions are unacceptable considering the UC is one of the largest employers in the state. We will not stop until we receive fair contracts,” said Elias Bunting, a Student Researcher in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Davis.

“UC thinks they can end this quickly with an inadequate proposal passed late at night,” said Rafael Jaime, President of UAW 2865. ‘President Michael Drake should be second-guessing that decision today. We’re not done yet, and disruption will continue.’

MAJOR ACTION DECEMBER 14: At 9:30am on Wednesday, December 14th, Tom Morello (the lead guitarist from Rage Against the Machine) will perform at UCLA’s Luskin Center to kick off a rally where striking academic workers, faculty, undergraduates and labor allies will ask the Regents – who will be meeting inside the center at that time – to demand UC President Michael Drake settle a fair contract and guarantee that UC remains equitable for all.

Late Friday, December 9: 7,000 Postdoctoral Scholars and 5,000 Academic Researchers ratified their contracts with the University. They were back at work today, and continue to support the 36,000 Academic Workers (TAs, Student Researchers, Readers, Graders and Tutors) who remain on strike.

Also on Friday, bargaining teams representing the remaining 36,000 workers voted to enter voluntary mediation with the university.

On Saturday, Darrell Steinberg was approved by both parties as the Mediator. Steinberg is the former Senate Pro Tem, the current Mayor of Sacramento, and a former UAW member.

“I will do everything I can to help the parties resolve this dispute fairly for each side,” said Steinberg. “In one weekend, I already see numerous paths to reach a principled compromise that respects both parties and allows work to resume with fair contracts and a stronger university. My thanks to the Governor, UAW, and the Board of Regents for asking me to help.”


After 5 weeks on strike, academic workers at the UC
received a settlement of their strike with significant gains.
The new contract is for 5 years and expires in 2027.