University of California Academic Worker Strike Continues
By Peter R. C. Lee
The Academic Worker Strike in California has now hit a new milestone: more than one year into the strike and the picket lines, the union membership has expanded by more than 400 workers, from 3,700 to over 4,500 workers, representing roughly 15,000 California professors. This includes more than 500 California faculty who work in the UC regents’ employ. Many are members of the Association of American Universities (AAU) and California Faculty Association (CFA).
The strike is a continuation of the ongoing strike against the UC Regents in which the membership of the National Academic Workers Union (NAWU), a member of the Service Employees International Union, reached strike-breaking levels in 2018, in which the union membership, including all non-tenured faculty, reached a strike-breaking level in 2019.
The strike is currently in effect, and its demands are that the regents’ current budget (which includes $3 billion in increased tuition), regents’ actions on the faculty bargaining process, the UC’s lack of transparency regarding spending and the Regents’ ability to unilaterally spend more money without the faculty’s consent is unacceptable to the membership, as is their treatment of academic workers.
The union is demanding that the regents reverse their decision to increase tuition and establish the UC budget using the faculty’s labor. In addition, the union is demanding that they stop their current plan to eliminate the tenure system and to instead institute a tenure-like contract for all faculty. That is, a contract that requires that they receive tenure and all faculty have the same rights and duties to the institution they are working at. The membership also demands that the UC stop imposing new hiring criteria on the faculty, and for the UC to open up the job application and employment process to all faculty in California.
The union is also demanding that the UC provide the AAU and CFA with a list of the names and emails address of their “confidential, faculty-only lists” which is the same list the Regents have. The union also demands that the Regents stop giving out their personal contact information, and that they make their emails public. Furthermore, the University is not allowed to contact the Regents until their staff contact is done so, and no faculty be contacted while