At the end of the historic six-week strike across all 10 UC campuses, members from United Auto Workers, or UAW, 2865 and SRU-UAW voted in favor of an agreement that allowed for an increase in wage salary, child care services and protections against bullying and harassment.
But, despite the ratification of a tentative agreement following the strike, there is still work to be done by campus and students to carry out these negotiations sincerely and continue pushing for more.
Following the strike, meaningful support from campus has yet to be felt. Many students are still awaiting grades from the previous semester, as the strike caused significant grading delays. Letters of recommendation or final transcripts required for applications for graduate schools or scholarships cannot be obtained; this uncertainty is expected to continue.
There is an imperative responsibility of all UC campuses to aid students and faculty during this time of transition. Students should not experience these extensive delays in grading. Although campus has hired readers to assist in grading, it must continue to invest in an adequate amount of resources and provide transparency between students and faculty regarding outstanding grades to eliminate these issues as soon as possible.
Additionally, it is notable that voters at UCLA and UC Berkeley overwhelmingly favored the final contract negotiated, whereas voters at the Santa Cruz, Merced and Santa Barbara campuses voted mostly against it. The clear difference between campuses brings us to highlight the deep inequities embedded within the UC system and what students — undergraduate and graduate — can do about them.
Students at UC Berkeley must vocalize these inequities between institutions. There is an element of prestige that may allow UCLA and UC Berkeley to receive more benefits than other UC campuses. An increase in salary of any amount must be universally addressed, not cherry-picked to benefit the universities with higher rankings or reputations.
Ultimately, no campus should receive less support than others for any reason. We urge students to recognize the privilege UC Berkeley holds among these universities. It is crucial to remember that seeking more benefits and support is not just for UC Berkeley’s sake — it’s for all the UC campuses.
We want to make it clear we believe that the outcome of this strike is monumental and victorious as a union-organized push for collective action. It is a major victory for graduate students and academic student workers everywhere who participated in this movement.
Nevertheless, this contract is not where UC Berkeley ends its efforts. We urge students to join in solidarity with all campuses and recognize that the decisions made extend beyond what we see at UC Berkeley. There are more issues to be addressed, and this historic strike is an indication that our joined voices have the power to make waves. We must press forward with utmost perseverance.