We write to share information regarding a strike scheduled to begin on Monday, Nov. 14 that has the potential to significantly impact UCLA’s academic enterprise, possibly for an extended period.
University of California academic appointees across the system associated with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union — including postdoctoral scholars, academic researchers, academic student employees (ASEs) and graduate student researchers (GSRs) — recently declared their intention to initiate a strike of indefinite duration this coming Monday. During the strike, those participating might cease aspects of their work including teaching, grading assignments, tutoring, conducting research, administering programs and other duties.
The strike comes as the University of California and the UAW continue collective-bargaining negotiations for contracts covering workers in the four bargaining units. UAW members’ concerns relate to higher compensation, wage increases tied to housing costs, transportation subsidies, student fees and more.
UC’s perspective is that the university has negotiated in good faith and has put forward proposals that are responsive to union concerns and place our compensation and benefits among the most substantial offered by any higher education institution. UC’s proposals, which may be reviewed on a UC website about the negotiations, include multi-year pay increases; expanded paid leaves; increased family support; and childcare benefits for postdoctoral scholars, ASEs and GSRs; as well as full coverage of all campus fees for eligible ASEs and GSRs. This is in addition to full UC coverage of tuition, healthcare and student services for eligible ASEs and GSRs. University leaders recognize the immense contributions that all of these academic workers make to UC’s teaching and research mission, and hope that an agreement can be reached soon.
While we support the right of UAW members to engage in protected labor activities, it is important that UC maintain academic operations during the strike. Guidance for continuing to support student learning, maintaining research operations, and mitigating other impacts of the strike will be available in a UC-UAW Box folder by the end of the day on Wednesday, Nov. 9. Specific questions not addressed in the materials can be directed to email@example.com.
University employees in supervisory or managerial roles should refrain from engaging in conversations with union members about any aspects of the strike, including whether or not union members will engage in strike activities. It is also important that supervisors and managers avoid making statements condemning or praising strikers’ protected activities, and to refrain from dealing directly with union members in regard to negotiations or grievances. These guidelines apply to verbal and written communications, including postings on social media.
On-campus demonstrations related to this strike may take place in the coming weeks. Strikers are entitled to perform legally protected strike activities, including picketing, near the exterior of campus property and entrances. Strike conduct that is unlawful includes, but is not limited to, blocking vehicles and/or persons from entering or leaving a property/facility; interfering with the regular operations of the campus; threatening violence; and physically attacking another.
We are cognizant of the effects that this strike will have on our faculty and other community members, especially after several already difficult years. We greatly appreciate your flexibility in these challenging circumstances, and will keep you informed about further developments related to the strike.
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Dean of Undergraduate Education
Interim Vice Provost for Teaching
Susan L. Ettner
Dean of Graduate Education
Roger M. Wakimoto
Vice Chancellor for Research & Creative Activities