Thousands of academic workers walked picket lines again Tuesday at all 10 University of California campuses in a statewide strike calling for better pay and benefits.
Contract talks produced “good progress” on Monday, the first day of the walkout, but then the university system informed the union that bargaining won’t resume until Wednesday, according to Rafael Jaime, a local union president.
“Workers are really frustrated by the slow process so far,” Jaime said while demonstrating at UCLA, where he’s a teaching assistant. “They’re willing to be out here for as long as it takes.”
In a statement before the strike, UC said it had entered the talks with a “genuine willingness to compromise,” adding that “many tentative agreements” on issues such as health and safety had been reached.
The unions representing some 48,000 teaching assistants, researchers, postdoctoral scholars, tutors and graders say the vast majority of members have turned out at picket lines. They say they are seeking significant pay increases and child-care subsidies to afford the cost of living in cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego and Berkeley, where housing costs are soaring.
Workers are seeking minimum annual base salaries of $54,000.
UC has offered a salary scale increase of 5% in the first year and 3% afterward, but the unions say that is not adequate.
Organizers from the United Auto Workers, which represents the employees involved, say they have set no end date for the work stoppage.