48,000 academic staff at the University of California are on strike

CNN business

About 48,000 academic workers in the University of California system walked off the job Monday morning, demanding higher pay and better working conditions, according to the union that represents them.

Distinguished staff members include researchers, graduate student researchers and faculty, interns, fellows, and others who provide academic support at the University of California’s 10 campuses. The United Auto Workers union represents these groups of academic workers who want transportation subsidies and wages that match housing costs.

Among the salary demands, the union wants a minimum salary of $70,000/year for post-doctoral staff; their current salary range starts at $55,632/year.

The UAW, which has been negotiating since spring 2021, has accused the University of California of taking illegal actions, such as circumventing the bargaining process and making unilateral decisions.

“People are living in very tight situations, people are often faced with the prospect and reality of homelessness,” graduate student professor Jack Davies told CNN affiliate KSBW.

The University of California said on its website that it “strongly disagrees[s] UC has allegedly engaged in illegal conduct with the UAW. Throughout the negotiations, UC has listened carefully to the union’s concerns and negotiated in good faith, as evidenced by the numerous tentative agreements reached thus far, even on the issues underlying the UAW’s allegations.

On Monday afternoon, the University of California proposed a third mediator to negotiate the strike, which it said in a statement is “the best path to an agreement.”

“We remain hopeful that through mediation and maintaining a spirit of flexibility and compromise we can reach a fair settlement with the UAW,” the system said.