Letters to the Editor: How UC has exploited the student academic workers on strike
It’s more than a month since the UCB student academic workers went on strike demanding that UCB end its support of and association with the University of California and the “Takoma Park-to-Housing Authority,” the “Housing and Residence Life Corporation,” and the “University of California, Community Colleges.” Since then, student academic workers have held five work stoppages, in which they have walked off the job in their classrooms while the university has remained closed. The university had to cancel classes for two weeks in April and again in May, after which it went back to classes for six days, from May 2 to 5, in order to address the disruptions. After the May 4 work stoppage, the student academic workers agreed to bargain with the university over salaries and conditions of employment, but they demanded that the university reverse its decision to continue its association with the university system. The demands are simple: UCB should withdraw its support of the university and its endorsement of the “Takoma Park-to-Housing Authority,” the “Housing and Residence Life Corporation,” and several “university-based, state-funded, and state-administered” services. The university has said that it is committed to upholding its public trust, but has not responded to student demands that it withdraw from these projects, or reverse its endorsement of them.
I’ve worked at UCB for over 23 years and I am appalled by the extent to which student academic workers are treated to the neglect of other university workers by the university administration. Since it was formed in the early 1970s, UCI has not had an elected campus board or any faculty, staff, or student representation or oversight committee. In fact, the student academic workers have no say in the selection of whom they work with or whether they will receive a contract at all. Their only voice is through the union they formed on campus in 2011, and though they agreed to bargain with UCB last month over wages and working conditions, the university has refused to negotiate over whether or not the student academic workers wish to remain members of the union. On top of that, the university is in the process of moving the UCI campus to the site of the proposed new medical school. The student academic