Joint Statement from UC Student-Workers Union and Palestinian Youth Movement:

We Condemn the Israeli Slaughter of the People of Gaza and Express Solidarity with the People of Palestine

We, UAW Local 2865 and Palestinian Youth Movement, condemn the slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza.

Over 100 Palestinians have been murdered and 12,000 injured over the past six weeks in a prolonged military assault by Israeli Forces. Palestinians in Gaza, Jerusalem and across Historic Palestine sustained a vibrant protest, The Great Return March, from the end of March until May 14th, marking the 70 years of dislocation, displacement, ethnic cleansing, genocide and refugeehood known as The Nakba. The Nakba (or Catastrophe) from 1947-1949 saw at its inception the exile of over 750,000 Palestinians from their heritage lands with over 50% of the population being removed from their homeland in entirety without a path for Return.

Thus, what some celebrate as Israel’s “independence” entails the founding moments of protracted Palestinian refugeehood and enduring misery that has fundamentally changed the current realities of over 13 million Palestinians worldwide; in the Gaza Strip alone, over ⅓ of a population of 2 million are refugees from other parts of Palestine. They live in the world’s largest open-air prison, spanning just 139 square miles of land. At the time of this statement, 64% of Gaza’s population is under the age of 25, and we must fight for their future. We extend our unwavering support to Gaza’s Great Return Marchers in declaring that all Palestinians must be granted the right to return to their homes and live free from colonial occupation and oppression.

We also believe it vital to recognize the context in which we express our solidarity. The United States plays a primary role in normalizing Israeli hegemony in the region, funding the Israeli military through U.S. tax dollars. The U.S. buffers accountability for Israel’s slaughter and continual policies of ethnic cleansing, occupation, apartheid, and terror by contributing to Israeli legal impunity on an international scale.

Most recently, the U.S. objected to the U.N. intent to investigate Israel’s slaughter of Gaza protesters as potential war crimes through false appeals that Israel was being “singled out” by international communities of conscience. In reality, it is the U.S. and the Zionist state who are dead set on “singling out” Israel by ensuring that it continues to operate as a brutal military-colonial apartheid force free from any kind of international impunity or pressures.

The continued erasure of settler-colonialism benefits both the United States and Israel, as the United States is an active settler-colonial state that violently represses indigenous communities – those left after the brutal genocide and dispossession they’ve experienced at the hands of the state. Erasing the ongoing settler-colonialism of Israel helps to hide the ongoing genocidal treatment of indigenous communities by the United States; and so the United States is deeply invested in protecting Israel as a settler colonial state to justify its own racial and ethnic practices of segregation, occupation, and terror. Active support for Israel also allows the US to refine its own policies of criminalization, surveillance and repression of Black and Brown communities as Israel continues to export the military and crowd-control technologies and tactics honed on colonized Palestinian bodies to governments the world over.

The University of California also performs a key role in both indigenous genocide and the genocide of Palestinians through military weapons research and the repression and censorship of growing concerns about Israel’s genocidal project. We must speak up against injustice and hold our institutions accountable.

We–members of the UC Student-Workers Union UAW 2865 and members of the Palestinian Youth Movement, alongside all people of conscience–affirm our deep solidarity with the people of Palestine. Echoing the World Federation of Trade Unions, Black Alliance for Peace, and numerous other groups, we lift up rank and file Palestinians in the diaspora who have marched and worked in support of the Palestinian struggle back home. We move with the people of Palestine who are resisting settler colonial violence: your courage continues to inspire us to build international unity among all people seeking an end to global oppression and who are committed to realizing collective liberation.

In Solidarity through the Struggle,

The Student-Workers Union, UAW Local 2865 & Palestinian Youth Movement

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Palestine Educational Resources:

On Gaza:

 

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Bargaining Update #8: Some Progress, but UC Falling Short on Diversity

“One of the reasons I came to UCI was its commitment to diversity. When I came here, I felt very happy and supported, but now, somehow, that support has vanished.”

—Selena Lucent, UCI student-parent facing eviction from campus housing

June 18-19, 2018, IRVINE, CA — Your bargaining team met with management for the second-to-last time before our contract expires on June 30. We made concrete progress in spite of management only coming to the table for two hours on day one, reaching a tentative agreement on Appointment Notification (Article 2), which includes new language notifying Academic Student Employees (ASEs) of their right to childcare and reasonable accommodations for disabilities through our contract.

Student-workers gathered on June 18th to hear powerful testimonies from fellow workers who spoke about their struggles. Kyung, a student in economics, expressed astonishment at the astronomical non-residential tuition charged to international students, “We couldn’t believe an institution that claims to value diversity would take such blatantly discriminatory action.”

We have moved the administration to adopt stronger protections for disabled workers, but they remain unwilling to grant ASEs the agency to decide which reasonable accommodation(s) will be implemented. We will not agree to any language that does not guarantee the ASE’s ability to consent to a proposed accommodation.

One UC-Irvine student-worker, Selena Lucent, reported facing unjust eviction from University housing when the UC refused to accommodate her learning disability. Unionists from across the state responded by taking the fight straight to housing, picketing outside the Housing Office to demand immediate remedy in writing. As we write this update, two bargaining team members are on the phone with housing directors, who responded immediately to our collective action. We won’t rest until we see justice for Selena!

Our current contract expires on June 30 and in the upcoming weeks we have one final meeting with UC Office of the President (UCOP) in Oakland – June 28-29 – to continue working towards an agreement on our new contract.

We make progress at the negotiating table when members get involvedso RSVP to come to bargaining at UCOP, spread the word, and sign up your friends and colleagues as members!

We are a member-led union. The strength of our new contract depends on the strength of our membership. Become a department steward or join your campus Organizing CommitteeNow is the time to build our power and win our demands!

We hope to see you June 28 and 29 at UCOP for the final round of bargaining before contract expiration!

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Bargaining Update #7: “Title IX will never not be broken.”

Bargaining Session 7 – UC Riverside: June 6 & 7

Title IX will never not be broken. There is no guarantee. Slowing down the grievance process until the Title IX investigation has been completed is an unreasonable ask of student workers. It exponentially magnifies the harm. It may cause more harm than the University seems to be aware of.”

Professor Jennifer Doyle, of the UC Riverside Department of English, delivered the above testimony at this week’s bargaining session. She was joined by Naddia Palacios, Director of the CARE Advocates (Campus Advocacy, Resources and Education) at UCR and five student-workers in giving testimony. We also delivered our Union’s petition against sexual violence and sexual harassment (SVSH) signed by 1,580 members across the state demanding real accountability from UC.

The Bargaining Team at UC Riverside for bargaining session #7.

In response to your petition and testimonies, the UC Administration has begun to discuss the strong protections our union has put on the table. The next few weeks of negotiations are crucial. We need to push the administration on these issues and transform this discussion into agreement and implementation of our proposal language. Only through a strengthened contract can we enforce the protections of student-workers against all forms of harassment and discrimination.

The second day of bargaining, your Union proposed a comprehensive proposal aimed at winning a #ViolenceFreeUC and a #UCForAll. Click here to read more about our comprehensive proposal. This session focused on proposing language aimed at ensuring the health and safety of academic workers across the UC system. In particular, we’ve proposed new contract language calling for lab safety, stronger sanctuary campus protections, and for the disarming and demilitarization of campus police.

UC administration still believes 2% per year is an acceptable wage proposal. 2% is a meager $43 per month for most members, which does not even keep pace with inflation. You, our union’s members, know we need much more than that. That’s why we have proposed wage parity with UC’s peer institutions and housing stipends to address skyrocketing rent prices throughout California.

Our current contract expires on June 30 and in the upcoming weeks we’ll be meeting with UC Office of the President (UCOP) at Irvine (June 18-19) and in Oakland (June 28-29) to continue working towards an agreement on our new contract. We make progress at the negotiating table when members get involved, so come out, spread the word, and sign up your friends as members!

We are a member-led union. The strength of our new contract depends on the strength of our membership. Become a department steward or join your campus Organizing Committee.  Now is the time to build our power and win our demands!

We hope to see you on June 18 and 19 at UC Irvine for the next round of bargaining!

In solidarity,

The UC Student-Workers Union, the UAW Local 2865, Bargaining Team

Margaret Mary Downey (Berkeley)
Garrett Shishido Strain (Berkeley)
Emily Breuninger (Davis)
Ashlyn Jaeger (Davis)
Kurt Horner (Irvine)
Francisco Ilabaca (Irvine)
Jonathan Koch (Los Angeles)
Alli Carlisle (Los Angeles)
Daniel Rios (Merced)
Christina Acosta (Merced)
Eden Ragsdale (Riverside)
David Chávez (Riverside)
Raúl Herrera (San Diego)
Davide Carpano (San Diego)
Meg Unden (Santa Barbara)
Hannah Kagan-Moore (Santa Barbara)
Ana McTaggart (Santa Cruz)
Kyle Galindez (Santa Cruz)

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Bargaining Update #6: UC Admin to Student-Workers: “Let’s be honest: you are not underpaid for the work you do.”

Santa Cruz – May 31, 2018–This is what the UC admin thinks of our work — a direct quotation from UC Office of the President Chief Negotiator at today’s bargaining session at UC-Santa Cruz. For months, union members have testified about low wages, high rents, and skyrocketing costs of living. Ignoring these stories, UC admin offered us a mere 2% per year wage increase for the next four years, which, given 3.4% annual inflation in California, is a real wage decrease.

– Every worker who said they are sleeping in their car.
– Every worker who has been sexually harassed.
– Every worker who is food insecure.
– Every worker who needs to visit a sick family member but can’t.
– Every worker who rations their mental health care.

…UC Admin has failed you.

The UC admin’s wage proposal was part of a package, with little to no movement on core issues.

Here are the lowlights:

  • Wages: 2% each year for four years for all ASEs.
  • Non-discrimination: The UC admin reasserted their desire to pause our grievance process while they investigate, whenever a grievance involves sexual harassment, denying survivors an avenue for justice. While admin made concessions on alternative resolution and interim measures, they continue to want to place these at the sole discretion of the Title IX office, potentially overriding the wishes of the survivor. UC admin has ignored our proposals to expand lactation stations and all-gender restroom access, as well as ignoring demands for expanded definitions of protected groups and problematic behavior, and even rejecting accommodations for religious observance.
  • Union Access and Rights: The UC admin has proposed that our union’s portion of orientations be a required part of new ASE orientations, but they have made no movement on any of our union’s core demands, including guaranteed access to departmental orientations to ensure student-workers are aware of our rights and protections under our union contract.
  • Duration: A four-year agreement that expires on June 30th, 2022.
  • No improvements to fee remission, childcare reimbursements, classifications, health and safety, and health benefits.

We presented our proposals for a wage increase, a housing stipend, expanded health benefits, and stronger protections against harassment and discrimination. These proposals, drafted collaboratively by members in working groups across the state, are cornerstones of our “UC For All” campaign.

THE UNION’S PROPOSALS

  • Wages: We have proposed that the UC increase our wages to be competitive with peer institutions and account for the skyrocketing cost of living. Specifically, our proposal requires the UC to increase our wages by the greater of a Peer Institution Adjustment and a Fixed Cost of Living Adjustment. The Peer Institution adjustment is designed to bring our wages to the highest minimum gross monthly pay/stipend of UC’s peer institutions. According to the UC Graduate Student Support Survey, UC’s top peer institutions in 2017 were Cornell University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, Stanford University, University of Chicago, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, University of Southern California, University of Washington-Seattle, and Yale University. We have done our own analysis of UC’s minimum gross monthly pay/stipend compared to peer institutions and have found that ASEs at UC are paid at the bottom relative to UC’s peer institutions. The Fixed Living Cost Adjustment is designed to ensure that ASEs are not rent-burdened (according to the Federal Government, individuals who pay 30% or more of their income in rent are rent-burdened). Our proposal would bring ASE wages up to an amount such that ASEs are, on average, not paying 30% or more of their income on rent and utilities.
  • Housing: We proposed a brand new article protecting worker access to affordable housing. For on-campus housing, we proposed rent caps benchmarked to our wages, and minimum amounts of on-campus housing one year after contract start. For off-campus housing, we proposed a monthly rental assistance payment based on the gap between on and off campus rents — in order to properly incentivize the UC to build affordable housing. Our proposal also includes measures to ensure student worker input on all changes to on-campus housing.
  • Non-Discrimination: In addition to the many dimensions on which our proposals are superior to admin’s noted above, we have also now proposed protections for student workers who face issues with immigration and work authorization problems, including ensuring that UC clerical errors do not endanger immigration status and barring the UC from engaging in any collaboration with immigration authorities beyond the minimum required by law. We have also moved to expand all special measures for cases of sexual harassment to include harassment and discrimination of any kind.
  • Union Access and Rights: We have demanded that UC fully comply with California labor law requiring full access to new employee orientations and on-boarding, as well as several measures to improve and streamline enforcement of the contract, including paid grievance officers, on-campus Union offices, and joint management trainings.
  • Health Benefits: We have demanded remission of premiums for full medical, dental, and vision coverage for all student workers and their dependents. We also have proposed that UC eliminate substantial discrepancies between benefits across campuses and raise all campuses to at least the highest current coverage. Lastly, we have proposed full mental health and reproductive care, as well as an elimination of co-pays for all basic services at UC facilities.

Our union was supported by Professors of Sociology Dr. Miriam Greenberg and Dr. Steven McKay, who lead the No Place Like Home project on the Santa Cruz housing crisis. Their research demonstrates that 76% of surveyed graduate students at Santa Cruz are rent-burdened, paying more than 30% of their wages on rent. A union-led rally of 100+ members told management that these poverty wages are unacceptable.

Benjamin Gruey, a graduate student in Applied Mathematics, shared his thoughts and the support of his faculty mentor: “The failure of the UC administration to increase wages as needed across the UC system comes from ignoring and deflecting reality, rather than working within the world we have today. Crippling a department by making them warn away their highly-qualified candidates due to financial concerns is a tragedy on every level of this university.”

Juan Carlos Dávila, a UC Student-Workers Union Head Steward at UC-Santa Cruz, shared: “This wage increase is very disrespectful for the labor we put into this university. This is a good university, and it is our work that makes it good.”

We are a member-led union. The strength of our new contract depends on the strength of our membership. Become a department steward, join your campus Organizing Committee or Anti-Oppression Committee, or join a working group. Now is the time to build the power to win our demands!

Join us on June 6 and 7 at UC-Riverside for the next round of bargaining!

In solidarity,

The UC Student-Workers Union, the UAW Local 2865, Bargaining Team

Margaret Mary Downey (Berkeley)
Garrett Shishido Strain (Berkeley)
Emily Breuninger (Davis)
Ashlyn Jaeger (Davis)
Kurt Horner (Irvine)
Francisco Ilabaca (Irvine)
Jonathan Koch (Los Angeles)
Alli Carlisle (Los Angeles)
Daniel Rios (Merced)
Christina Acosta (Merced)
Eden Ragsdale (Riverside)
David Chávez (Riverside)
Raúl Herrera (San Diego)
Davide Carpano (San Diego)
Meg Unden (Santa Barbara)
Hannah Kagan-Moore (Santa Barbara)
Ana McTaggart (Santa Cruz)
Kyle Galindez (Santa Cruz)

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UC Student-Workers Union to UC Admin: Bargain With Us Over Remedies to Sexual Harassment

Students and workers across the UC face high rates of sexual violence and sexual harassment, and members of the UC Student-Workers Union who have experienced sexual violence and sexual harassment report numerous unfair experiences as a result of the Title IX process. We need a #ViolenceFreeUC in order to have a #UCforALL. Add your name to our petition calling up the UC Admin to bargain with us to establish survivor-centered processes to address sexual violence and sexual harassment at the UC.

Graduate student workers can experience particularly pernicious forms of harassment from academic advisors whom they rely on for future career opportunities and who are often protected from oversight by tenure. In contract negotiations between the UC Student-Workers Union and representatives of the UC Office of the President (UCOP), the UC Administration has not been willing to negotiate with student workers over the terms and alternatives to the inadequate Title IX process (alternatives such as the Union grievance process).

Members of our Union who have experienced sexual violence and sexual harassment report numerous unfair experiences as a result of the Title IX process, such as:

  • Long delays of justice—the Title IX investigation and potential disciplinary process can drag out for several years and is not transparent. The Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Education has condemned UC for failing to establish any concrete timeline for resolving cases, leaving student workers who bring cases forward in limbo.
  • One-sided “due process”—the student worker’s career is put on hold, while the accused often continues working under only slightly modified conditions.
  • Demeaning cross-examinations—As part of the University’s Title IX investigation process, and/or the disciplinary proceedings following a Title IX investigation, the worker is compelled to demonstrate the legitimacy of their claims of sexual violence by describing (and potentially reliving) trauma and disclosing irrelevant details of their private lives.

This is unacceptable. We are proposing the following changes to our contract:

  • Allow student-workers to choose to use the Union grievance process concurrently with a Title IX investigation.
  • Implement interim measures so that student-workers who have reported sexual violence or harassment can continue working and learning in an environment free from harassment and discrimination.
  • Ensure timely responses to reports of sexual violence or sexual harassment.
  • Provide regular updates to the complainant in the case of disciplinary review
  • Establish consistent disciplinary outcomes for perpetrators found to have committed sexual violence or sexual harassment, and remove administrators with conflicts of interest from the process
  • Guarantee that a student-worker receives representation (not isolation) throughout the process.
  • Disclose investigation results so that student-workers know what’s going on in our workplaces.

Let’s compel the UC to bargain with student-workers for survivor justice by demonstrating that we’re strong and united in these demands. Sign and share this petition to add your voice to the call: We need a #ViolenceFreeUC in order to have a #UCforALL.

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Bargaining Update #5: 2018 UC For All Contract Campaign

2865 Bargaining Update #5 Oakland
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