California University Employees Threaten To Revamp Largest Strike In Higher Ed History

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Brandon Poulter Contributor
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University of California (UC) system employees are considering another walkout after settling the largest-ever labor action in U.S. higher education, according to Times Higher Education.

Nearly 50,000 graduate student workers in the UC system demanded higher pay and went on strike in November 2022 in a labor dispute that was reportedly resolved in December, according to The Associated Press. Union leaders are now accusing the UC system of failing to meet promises made in the agreement, which included pay raises, and are unhappy with the arrest of three union members who were alleged to have vandalized a UC San Diego building, the Times reported. (RELATED: Is The University Of California System Becoming A Safe Space For Antisemitism?)

“UC is trying to avoid following the contracts that they agreed to fair and square,” Neal Sweeney, a postdoctoral scholar in molecular biology at UC Santa Cruz, said at a rally this week, according to the Times.

“They are stealing wages from low-paid academic workers who do the majority of teaching and research at the University of California, and they’re cracking down on workers who dare to speak up,” Sweeney reportedly said.

The individuals arrested by the UC San Diego Police on July 4 allegedly caused more than $12,000 of damage to the Marine Conservation and Technology Facility on May 30, according to a statement from the university.

Hundreds of union members protested at the San Diego Central Courthouse and demanded that the charges be dropped, according to the union’s Twitter post.

Jessica Ng, a postdoctoral researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and one of the alleged perpetrators, accused the UC system of failing to properly fund positions including summer jobs, according to the Times.

“The UC has made it clear they would rather arrest their own workers than honour the contract they signed last year,” Ng reportedly said.

A UC system spokesman said they have been enacting the contract “in good-faith,” according to the Times.

The UC system and the union did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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