“This is one of the most striking examples of a resurgence of the labor movement that we’ve seen”
These strikers have effectively held the university system hostage for a month and it’s still going.
The Detroit Free Press reports:
UAW strike stuns University of California in 10 cities, heading into fourth week
The UAW, a labor union started in Detroit to represent the rights of autoworkers, is leading a strike 2,400 miles away involving some 48,000 academic workers in 10 University of California cities — including Berkeley, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.
The strike, believed to be the biggest organized labor action in the U.S. this year and the biggest in history involving higher education, began early on Nov. 14 after contract talks stalled on improving wages, job security and workplace protections.
It exceeds the size of the widespread UAW strike on General Motors that involved 46,000 workers at 55 sites in 10 states just three years ago and it clashed with final exams, forced some classes to go from in-person to virtual, and stopped laboratory research.
And it shows the potential influence the UAW has on shaping worker benefits well beyond traditional autoworkers.
“This is one of the most striking examples of a resurgence of the labor movement that we’ve seen,” said Harley Shaiken, an emeritus professor at the University of California-Berkeley who specializes in labor and the global economy. “It’s a bit like autoworkers sitting down at Flint 85 years ago, except on a college campus today. Workers then and student workers today, seeking to improve their lives through solidarity.”
The work these strikers do for the university and their impact is not trivial: “They perform experiments, write research grant proposals, and generate creative ideas that push the boundaries of their fields. Their hard work and dedication is a major reason why the school system received $3.7 billion in federal research contracts and grant revenue in fiscal year 2020,” U.S. Rep. Katie Porter, D-Irvine, said in a 2021 letter to the UC president expressing support for the academic workers.
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