To cross or not to cross? This is the question many students face as they approach the picket lines of the ongoing UC academic worker strike; however, they aren’t the only ones.
The morning of Nov. 16, striking UAW UC academic workers shut down a construction site on campus by talking to the workers from OE, IBEW and LiUNA, according to a tweet from UC Student-Workers Union UAW 2865. Similarly, a local teamster driver refused to deliver his over 100 packages to campus so as not to cross the picket line.
Meanwhile, many outside entities have weighed in on the strike. Aside from the suspension of in-person classes, UAW 2865, UAW 5810, Student Researchers United-UAW and the California Labor Federation have called for the cancelation of on-campus events for the duration of the strike.
“‘Until UC shows respect to the workers who power its mission, Academic Workers are asking the community to respect the picket line by canceling all meetings and events on UC campuses,’ said UAW 2865 President Rafael Jaime, according to a Nov. 16 press release. “‘There will be no business as usual unless UC stops its unlawful conduct, commits to round-the-clock bargaining, and reaches fair agreements.’”
The release notes that UAW is not calling for undergraduates to boycott their classes, or for employees to jeopardize their employment by violating no-strike clauses.
Locally, Berkeley City Council adopted a resolution in support of the strike actions and drafted a letter to UC President Michael Drake.
“Many of these academic workers are affiliated with UC Berkeley and reside in the City of Berkeley,” the resolution states. “Without UC’s commitment to support a diverse workforce with compensation that matches the cost of living, the quality of research and education declines and students are pushed out of academia — and out of Berkeley. The UC administration must come to the table to bargain in good faith and settle a fair contract with its workers.”
Twelve California state legislators have also weighed in, urging Drake to avert the strike in a Nov. 10 letter.
The legislators who signed on noted that the UAW-represented academic workers perform the bulk of UC teaching and research and contribute greatly to the university’s ability to secure funding. In FY 2021-22, for example, the letter notes that academic workers received $5.1 billion from the state to fund instruction and research.
“The UC is one of the top public university systems and research institutions in the world, in no small part because of its ability to attract the most talented scholars from a wide array of backgrounds,” the letter states. “But the UC system cannot live up to its mission and reputation if its own employees do not feel respected.”