Nearly 50,000 University of California workers went on strike Monday in the largest U.S. work stoppage of the year.
The strike will take place on each of the university system’s ten campuses and a research center, according to members of the United Auto Workers union. They accused the university of “illegal behaviour‘ and negotiating in ‘bad faith’. Both parties have not agreed on a new contract.
Rafael Jaime, president of UAW Local 2865, said the university and the union made progress in negotiations this weekend, but remained “far apart” on crucial issues. Jaime’s union represents 18,000 of the approximately 48,000 workers involved in the strike.
“We are hopeful that UC will cease its unfair labor practices and negotiate with us in good faith,” said Jaime, a doctoral student at the university.
It is not clear how long the strike will last. A spokesperson for the university was not immediately available for comment on Monday.
The workers involved in the strike include teaching assistants, graduate student researchers, postdoctoral researchers and teachers. Their unions have been pushing the university for higher pay because academic workers cannot afford to live in the communities where they teach and conduct research.
The UAW affiliates said the strike appeared to be the largest in US academic history. They planned picket lines for Monday at university locations across the state.
Late last week, more than 30 California state lawmakers sent a letter to the university’s president, Michael Drake, urging him to strike a deal with the unions so that the “massive disruption” of a strike could be avoided. turned away.
“UC is one of the best public university systems and research institutions in the world, not least because of its ability to attract the most talented scientists from a wide range of backgrounds,” the legislature said. wrote. “But the UC system cannot live up to its mission and reputation if its own employees don’t feel respected.”
This is a developing story. Come back for updates.