UC ‘Sellout Deal’ Not Dampening Higher Ed’s Union Explosion

by | Feb 23, 2023 | Bargaining/Negotiations, Education, Strikes, UAW, Union Organizing

The fallout from the United Auto Workers crippling University Of California strike is extending past the fall semester. That’s only to be expected after the union sent 48,000 workers on a six-week strike across a handful of campuses, a move that has inspired more organizing from faculty at universities across the U.S.

Worker satisfaction apparently failed to emerge from the UC strike, however, with many decrying a sellout deal, for which the workers say that the UAW caved to the university and accepted a $34,000 base salary rather than $54,000 as demanded. To make matters more frustrating for workers, the $34,000 won’t materialize until Fall 2024. As well, UC faculty members also expressed disenchantment about the UAW’s bargaining methods while claiming to feel bullied and ignored by representatives.

To muddy the waters even further, UC has now declared major cuts to their graduate admissions programs, and that could impact some striking doctoral program workers. Whether or not this is related to the strike, no one knows, although this could be an inevitable university outcome due to increased costs for raises.

On a similar note, Philadelphia’s Temple University announced that striking grad students are no longer eligible for free tuition. That up-to-$20,000 annual benefit could evaporate, and it can’t possibly measure up to what unions deliver after strikes.

A few more higher-ed odds and ends:

  • Harvard University: 100 non-tenure-track faculty members are organizing with the UAW and asking for union recognition.
  • University of Illinois Chicago: 1,500 tenure and non-tenure professors launched a four-day strike and emerged with promises of baseline $60,000 salaries.
  • The networking shall begin: organizing grad students and union officers from far and wide will descend upon the University of Iowa for an inaugural Iowa Labor Notes Troublemakers School in April.

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