As academic workers continue to strike for increased wages throughout the UC system, discussions have emerged over how the strike will impact workers’ payrolls.
The university has not withheld pay for academic workers as of press time, according to UAW 2865 bargaining representative Kai Yui Samuel Chan. The striking unit was provided with a sample attestation form that asks workers whether or not they are striking, Chan added.
Workers have not yet received the actual form from the university, Chan noted, which means the university does not have formal documentation of who is striking in order to facilitate pay cuts.
“The university has not gone through the process of formally categorizing workers into striking and non-striking workers yet, which means they don’t seem to intend to withhold pay,” Chan said. “They do have a right to ask for that payment back later on in the process.”
According to Chan, strikers are aware that the UC system can withhold their pay, and he noted that the union has funds to support workers if this happens. Strike pay has been distributed to protesting academic workers from the first week of the strike.
In the case that workers’ pay from the university is not withheld, strike pay must be returned, Chan said.
For academic workers, strike pay is $400 per week. Workers can also apply for further funds that are dispersed based on need, Chan added.
While salaried positions such as teaching assistants received their pay in November, hourly positions depend on self-reported hours of work. These employees have not reported hours during the strike, said Alex Schedel, a UC Berkeley graduate student instructor and strike captain for campus’s CS 61B course, in an email.
Schedel added that workers can receive strike pay only if they go on strike for as long as they would normally work.
“The idea of the strike pay is to make sure that the university knows that just by withholding people’s pay, they won’t stop the strike from happening,” Chan said. “If people are still getting their pay then we want to make sure that we are not using the fund in a way that doesn’t maximize its power.”
UCPath is the university’s payroll system for employees; Chan noted that the system has had issues in the past including overpayments, underpayments and late payments. He added that UCPath could pose issues if the university were to withhold pay for striking employees.
UC Office of the President spokesperson Ryan King said in an email that the university is not aware of any issues with processing employee pay.
Chan added that strikers have been escalating their efforts and will continue to do so to ensure that bargaining occurs in good faith.
“We are only here on strike because of the unwillingness of the UC to bargain with us in good faith,” campus graduate student researcher Henry Liu said in an email. “We hope that our actions this week and in the past have shown the UC that we are serious about our demands, and make them come back to the negotiating table with a fair contract.”