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UC Student Workers Go On Strike, Citing Living Expenses

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 and supporters walk from UCLA to Wilshire Boulevard.
(Ryanne Mena
/
LAist)
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Topline:

Academic workers across all 10 University of California campuses are on strike. They say the university system failed to increase wages adequately.

Who are "academic workers"? United Auto Workers represents some 48,000 members:

  • UAW 2865 represents teaching assistants, readers, and tutors
  • UAW 5810 represents postdocs and academic researchers
  • SRU-UAW represents student researchers

Why are they on strike? Union representatives say students often have to spend more than half of their income on rent. “For me, in 2016 when I started here, I lived in university-owned housing, UCLA’s graduate housing,” said Michael Dean, a doctoral student and bargaining member. “And I paid 69% of my income back to my employer in the form of rent.”

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Which union is involved?

It’s been a contentious year: In November 2021, the union threatened to strike if UC didn’t recognize the union as legitimate. The university did so in December. It’s also been almost a year since the university system averted a lecturer strike.