The University of California may dock pay from those participating in the ongoing academic worker strike — including faculty striking in solidarity — according to Berkeley Faculty Association chair James Vernon.
Vernon said in an email that he received this information from a source whom he could not publicly name but attested to the source’s reliability.
The strike is being carried out by UAW-represented academic workers, but many members of UC faculty not represented by the UAW have joined them in solidarity. Lecturers cannot strike in solidarity due to a “no strikes” clause in the UC-AFT contract.
“Apparently grad students will be sent ‘attestation forms’ on Monday to voluntarily report whether they have been on strike so their pay can be docked,” Vernon said in the email. “Nothing has yet been announced about faculty, although I was assured an announcement would be made on Thursday.”
As of press time, no public statements from UC President Michael Drake or other UC officials have affirmed the claim that attestation forms will be sent to striking workers.
UC Office of the President spokesperson Ryan King said via email that there are no pending announcements from the university when asked about Vernon’s claim.
Days prior to the strike beginning, the UC Office of the President circulated a document outlining how each campus labor relations office “will distribute” self-attestation forms that supervisors could use to track academic workers’ attendance. Striking employees would not be paid, the document stated.
The language used in the document refers specifically to “unit employees,” which would not include faculty members striking in solidarity.
Although academic workers participating in the strike potentially risk having their pay docked if they submit attestation forms, the UAW units encourage the workers they represent to fill them out truthfully.
“There is power in numbers!” a public statement from UAW 5810 reads. “Academic workers have the right to engage in lawful striking.”
Employers issuing self-attestation forms to striking workers is not a new phenomenon. In past strikes across the country, employers have done so to keep track of strikers for payroll purposes.
UAW-affiliated organizers of the graduate workers strike at Columbia University last year discouraged workers from filling out the attestation forms “for as long as possible” in a statement on the union local’s website.
It remains to be seen how the UC academic workers’ more cooperative strategy will fare in the long term.
Vernon did not specifically encourage or discourage faculty, who are not represented by the UAW, from filling out attestation forms if they are sent.
Should pay be withheld from UAW-represented academic workers, workers who picket at least 20 hours per week will be eligible to collect $400 a week from the union’s strike fund.