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UC Student Workers Agree To Mediation To Resolve Month-Long Strike

A large group of students walks along an outdoor path and carries signs protesting UCLA. In the foreground is a sign that says "strike shift check-in."
Student workers across the UC system have gone on strike after a year of bargaining.
(Ryanne Mena
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On Friday, the University of California and the unions that represent tens of thousands of student academic workers announced that they were giving up on bargaining for a new contract on their own. Both sides have agreed to seek an independent mediator to resolve their differences.

Why mediation? The move signals that both sides could move no further in their back and forth to raise wages and improve working conditions for teaching assistants, tutors, readers, and graduate researchers.

Why now? One of the three workers’ unions, the one that represents postdoctoral workers and academic researchers, announced a tentative agreement with UC on November 29. But negotiations for the other two bargaining groups remain gridlocked.

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Who stands to benefit the most? UC has publicly pushed for mediation since before the strike began in November. A neutral third party mediator will be given the responsibility to look at proposals for both sides and propose a settlement. For its part UC, says its last proposal is generous. The workers’ union says mediation will give it more control to break through UC’s “bad faith bargaining.”

What happens next? Both sides will now negotiate other things: a timeline for mediation, and a mediator they both can agree on.
According to the union, if mediation is unsuccessful, both sides can return to bargaining or file for impasse, which is a process that would impose a resolution to negotiations.