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University of California Workers on Strike Prepare For Vote

A crowd of people, many with masks, holding signs that read "UAW on Strike"
Hundreds of UC academic workers picketed for the 5th straight week at UCLA in Los Angeles on Dec. 14, 2022. The demonstration was held near the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center where the UC Board of Regents was meeting.
(Pablo Unzueta
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In college, I had moments where I wanted to pull all my hair out over a Finite Math test. But I am forever grateful for all the knowledge my professors and teaching assistants handed down to make this first-generation college kid a success story.

The over 280,000 students attending University of California campuses right now will likely have their own interesting story to tell about their current time at school – particularly because of the ongoing strike.

This strike has been called one of the most important strikes in the history of American higher education. It is certainly the largest.

Professors have led lectures on the picket lines and students covered the strike in their final projects. It’s become an influential case study in U.S. labor movements, and people all over the world have been watching it closely.

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UC Workers On Strike Prepare For Vote

The strike started with 48,000 academic workers before Thanksgiving but 12,000 postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers have since ratified an agreement with the university, leaving some 36,000 rank and file members in the two remaining unions left to vote on tentative agreements. Voting will take place throughout this week but, as my colleague Adolfo Guzman-Lopez reports, there is still a question of whether it will be approved as some bargaining team members have urged members to vote “no” on the tentative deals.

Adolfo is LAist’s Higher Education Correspondent and has been writing about the strike for weeks. I spoke with him about the lingering significance of it.

Aaricka: Undergraduates are feeling the brunt of this strike. What do undergrads you’ve talked to have to say?

Adolfo: I talked to probably a dozen undergraduates at UCLA. Some of them were more critical than others. Some of them said, ‘Hey, I'm paying a lot of money for tuition. I'm not getting these classes, that makes me upset.’ But even those people said, ‘You know what? TAs need to be paid more.’

I think this strike led to an increase in consciousness about the importance of the TAs and these other academic workers to the workings of the University of California, which as we know is arguably the most prestigious public university system in the United States.

Aaricka: Can you speak on how much of a big deal this is for our country? 

Adolfo: You’ve got the flagship campuses in the UC system, like UC Berkeley and UCLA, where there is just so much scientific research and health research. I was just talking to the guy who is doing research about how to better understand cloud formations because the way we look at them now is not very accurate…So he's trying to figure out ways to better understand clouds to know how clouds are going to impact global warming. He's stopped his research for over a month [because of the strike].

But I'm hearing a lot of sense of empowerment. This researcher said, ‘Well, I used to think unions were on the decline. Now, I'm seeing my direct experience in this strike, how much a union can make a difference to improve people's lives.’

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

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Wait... One More Thing

A Rise In Abortion-Related Stories In TV

Abortion rights demonstrators leave banners at a fence outside of the US Supreme Court in Washington
Abortion rights demonstrators leave banners at a fence outside of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, May 14, 2022. - Thousands of activists are participating in a national day of action calling for safe and legal access to abortion. The nationwide demonstrations are a response to leaked draft opinion showing the US Supreme Court's conservative majority is considering overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling guaranteeing abortion access.
(JOSE LUIS MAGANA/AFP via Getty Images

One of my favorite shows right now is P-Valley on Starz. In the show, there’s a powerful scene of a mom character taking her daughter to an abortion clinic while several people protest on the sides as they walk in. It’s a scene that speaks to the current controversial moment surrounding this issue.

P-Valley isn’t the only recent show to tackle the topic this year. There’s been a recent rise in abortion-related stories on television, which has come as a result of the public reaction to Roe v. Wade.

Here’s what researchers had to say on how these stories are attempting to reflect reality.

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