We are appalled. UC Police Assault AFSCME Demonstrator

Yesterday, AFSCME 3299 worker David Cole was assaulted by a campus police officer while peacefully demonstrating with fellow workers at UC Berkeley (a video of the assault is available here). Cole, a 51-year-old African American cook in Berkeley’s dining services, was injured when police put him in a chokehold, threw him to the ground, and arrested him. He was released on Thursday night after hundreds of fellow workers mobilized in order to demand his release.

We stand in solidarity, anger, and determination with our fellow workers in AFSCME 3299 and all workers fighting for racial and economic justice.

The assault on David Cole occurred during a statewide action spotlighting AFSCME’s contract negotiations, which have reached an impasse after the UC offered a 0% raise over 5 years and threatened cuts to vital benefits like healthcare and pensions. The action on Thursday also honored the legacy of Echol Cole and Robert Walker, two Black sanitation workers in Memphis, TN, who lost their lives exactly 50 years ago due to unsafe working conditions.

In a public statement, AFSCME notes that, as its workers “reaffirmed their commitment to the cause of racial equality, dignity, and respect for workers today, the University of California chose to honor the repressive legacy of the Jim Crow South. This incident only underscores UC’s deplorable record and continued resistance on issues of racial justice. We will not rest until UC agrees to provide its workers with adequate protections for immigrants and people of color.”

The racist violence of Berkeley campus police provides a vivid reminder of what is at stake for our union as we enter our own contract negotiations at the end of this month. In our Bargaining Demands we are calling for the demilitarization of campus police forces. As demonstrated by yesterday’s events, this goal is crucial to making the UC a place where all can work and learn free from harassment, violence, and discrimination.

So, as we stand in solidarity with AFSCME and all members of our communities targeted by racist policing, we prepare to add our collective power to the struggle for justice for UC workers. Please contact us if you’d like to learn more about our contract campaign or get involved.


UC Student-Workers Union, UAW 2865

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Please VOTE by Dec 18th: UC Student-Workers Union Initial Bargaining Goals Ratification

Dear unionists,

We are writing today to request your ratification of the 2018 Initial Bargaining Goals for upcoming contract negotiations with UC.

The stakes of this round of bargaining are higher than ever. In the context of the GOP tax bill, anti-immigrant legislation, and other attacks against public education and working people, our union is committed to leading the fight for economic security and social justice in contract negotiations with UC, which are set to begin in 2018. Over the past several months, we have gathered feedback from thousands of UAW 2865 members to craft a transformative bargaining agenda to build power and win justice at UC. The bargaining team is recommending this set of Initial Bargaining Goals for membership approval.

Our union’s elections committee sent out an email via survey monkey on Dec. 5 with a link to vote on these priorities. Please vote to ratify these priorities and add your name as a supporter of the goals.

If you or someone you know is a UAW 2865 member but did not receive an email link, please have them request a ballot here. We will deliver a final copy of the demands, along with the list of supporters, to the University when we start bargaining by March of 2018.

Nearly 4,000 members filled out a bargaining survey, hundreds of members organized bargaining town halls, and member leaders met in Santa Barbara last month for our union’s Statewide Bargaining Convention to provide feedback on the initial draft of the demands and discuss plans to build our collective power to win our demands. We will present these collective priorities to the UC in January 2018, and continue to organize with members across the state in the coming months as we translate our goals into campaigns to win specific proposals.

Our bargaining goals reflect our membership’s commitment to social justice unionism. Student-workers understand the inextricable link between our fight for economic security, for a more inclusive and diverse UC, and for quality, accessible education. Working together, we can make UC safer and more accessible for immigrant, undocumented, and international student-workers. We can win survivor-centered sexual harassment and sexual violence protections. We can win lower student-to-teacher ratios to improve the quality of the education we deliver.

All of this is possible if a majority of student-workers come together to send a decisive message to the UC about our priorities. We look forward to working with you on a strong, member-led contract campaign.

In Solidarity,

The Bargaining Team of the UC Student-Workers Union – UAW 2865

Margaret Mary Downey (Berkeley)
Garrett Shishido Strain (Berkeley)
Emily Breuninger (Davis)
Ashlyn Jaeger (Davis)
Anandi Rao (Irvine)
Francisco Ilabaca (Irvine)
Jonathan Koch (Los Angeles)
Alli Carlisle (Los Angeles)
Rodolfo Rodriguez (Merced)
Christina Acosta (Merced)
J Sebastian (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 Rally at #GradTaxWalkout

Today thousands of UC student-workers and allies rallied across our campuses to demand that Congress stop the GOP tax bill and that the UC administration reverse tuition hikes and expand financial support for student-workers. Tax the rich, not the research!


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UC Student-Workers Rally Against GOP Tax Plan Attacks on Higher Education

Union Members Call on UC Administration to Confront GOP Plan by Reversing Tuition Hikes and Expanding Financial Support for Graduate Students

Press Contacts: Emily Yen, President of UC Student – Workers Union (UAW 2865), Graduate Student in Sociology at UCLA, president@uaw2865.org, (301) 351 – 0454

Kavitha Iyengar, Head Steward UAW 2865, Graduate Stud ent in Jurisprudence and Social Policy at UC Berkeley, kliyengar@gmail.com, (517) 449 – 7337

On Wednesday, November 29th, students and workers at all nine teaching campuses of the University of California (UC) will participate in a nationally – coordinated day of action opposing the GOP Tax Plan. From Davis to San Diego, student – workers are planning walkouts, rallies, letter – writing, and petition – signing actions targeted at Congress and the UC administration.

The Hou se tax plan targets higher education workers by taxing tuition waivers as income, drastically increasing the amount student – workers pay in taxes while locking out current and future students who can’t afford the increasing cost of higher education. Both Ho use and Senate versions of the bill attempt to make student – workers and other working people pay for tax cuts for the rich and corporations, while paving the way for privatization of education and research on a wider scale.

“Treating tuition and fee waiv ers as taxable income will be financially devastating for graduate students and push out many of the best and brightest,” said Emily Yen , President of the UC Student – Workers Union, UAW 2865. “It will be a huge impediment to recruiting and retaining the nex t generation of researchers, especially the talented ones from non – wealthy backgrounds. On a societal level, it would imperil scientific and social innovations that tackle important issues ranging from curing cancer to increasing access to early childhood education.” Union members argue that the GOP Tax Plan continues the hollowing out of higher education as a public good – a process that has accelerated in recent years. The UC administration and UC Regents have contributed to this process through repeate d tuition increases and the growth of a bloated administrative class at UC.

“Republicans in Congress want to strip – mine higher education like it’s one of Donald Trump’s business ventures,” said Kavitha Iyengar, a Graduate Student Researcher in the Law Sc hool at UC Berkeley. “ Unfortunately, UC administrators have paved the way for the Trump agenda by raising tuition and fees on students while hoarding money for lavish parties and skyrocketing executive pay.”

On Tuesday, the UC administration responded to i ncreasing pressure from the union – led coalitions by launching a public advocacy campaign against the GOP Tax Plan. As part of the actions on Wednesday, union members will call on the UC administration to take additional steps to meaningfully confront the G OP Tax Plan, including reversing tuition hikes and expanding financial support for graduate students during contract negotiations with the UC Student – Workers Union in 2018.

“The Grad Tax is an attack on higher education and academic research. Under this proposal, graduate education would become inaccessible to all but the wealthiest students,” said Lydia Majure, a Postdoctoral Scholar in Neuroscience at UC Berkeley and Trustee of UAW 5810. “We need to stand together to demand that elected officials reject this disastrous plan. If the G rad T ax does become law, universities must protect students by reducing or eliminating graduate tuition for research programs. This proposal would have huge adverse effects on research in the United States, so this should con cern postdocs, faculty, and research staff as well.”

The campus actions are expected to draw thousands of students, academic workers, and their supporters, with strong visuals and dynamic speakers, including undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctor al scholars, and faculty members.
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Contact Napolitano and State Reps to Oppose the Regressive GOP Tax Plan

As you may be aware, U.S. House Republicans have proposed a bill that would regressively overhaul U.S. tax code, which includes changes that would dramatically impact students and student-workers throughout higher education.[1]

In addition to many other concerning changes, including tax breaks for the wealthy, the new bill would repeal earlier tax code that stipulates that tuition waivers –– like the one we’ve won in our labor contract –– are excluded from taxable income. The new bill would instead treat our currently waived tuition as taxable income, which, as this analysis by one of our campus union stewards indicates, would significantly impact student workers’ already limited take-home pay. Because tuition is roughly three times as high for non-resident and international students, our union is particularly concerned about the even more drastic impacts of this bill on these student workers. We acknowledge the ways in which this proposed bill is connected to other anti-immigrant policies enacted under Trump.

As a union committed to the project of public education, we support progressive taxes to fund public goods and services like education. We have collaborated with community members to pass tax measures such as Propositions 30 and 55 to increase state funding for public education as part of our larger effort to fight for accessible, quality, and fully state-funded education. We oppose the current proposed tax bill, which would force student workers to pay taxes on tuition increases, against which we have been fighting the undemocratic UC Board of Regents for years. Our collective opposition to this bill is based on these issues.

What can I do?

It is crucial that we act together as a union to oppose this bill now. We are organizing each other to contact both UC President Janet Napolitano and our US House Representatives to urge them to publicly oppose this GOP bill. Napolitano can be reached at: (510) 987-9200 and president@ucop.edu, and you can find contact info for your State Representative here.

Below is a short, to-the-point sample script for your message:
Hello, my name is [name]. I’m a member of the UC Student-Workers Union UAW 2865, and a undergraduate/graduate student at UC [campus] OR and a constituent of [Representative] from [zip code]. I’m calling to urge your office to publicly oppose the House GOP Tax Bill H.R. 1, which would make affording higher education further out of reach for many people. Specifically, I urge you to publicly oppose the bill’s repeal of the Qualified Tuition Reduction in Section 117(d) in the tax code. Thank you for your efforts on this issue.

Please pass this message on to your coworkers –– this awful bill must be stopped. We’ll be following up with members regarding next steps in resisting this anti-education, anti-worker bill and others like it.

Yours in Solidarity,

The Joint Council
UC Student-Workers Union, UAW 2865

How the GOP Tax Plan Affects Graduate Students



  1. For more information about the way the tax bill would affect higher education, see http://www.chronicle.com/article/Republican-Tax-Proposal-Gets/241662.
  2. The numbers provided in the analysis are estimates based on average UC Berkeley teaching conditions, and they may differ slightly from individuals’ situations.
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Inviting All Unionists to Statewide Bargaining Convention, Nov. 18 at UC Santa Barbara

What: UC Student Workers’ Union Statewide Bargaining Convention

When: Saturday, November 18, 9am-4pm

Where: UC Santa Barbara campus, GSA Lounge (map)

How: RSVP by November 8 here (we’ll organize your travel, stay, and food!)

Dear Unionists,

As you likely know, our union is in the midst of preparing to bargain our next contract, which expires in June 2018. We hope to make this our strongest contract yet, and to do that, we will need your help! Many of you have already weighed in through our bargaining survey about which demands you’d like to prioritize–we encourage those who haven’t filled the survey out yet to do so soon.

We’re now reaching out to invite you to our statewide membership meeting and bargaining convention on Saturday, November 18 from 9am to 4pm at UC Santa Barbara, at the GSA Lounge. We will use this meeting to share skills and strategize our upcoming bargaining campaign as a statewide union; review bargaining survey responses and determine our collective contract demand priorities (to be ratified by members across the state in December); and begin organizing for the formal launch of our contract campaign this January at UC Merced. We encourage members from all over the state join us, meet each other, and participate in this important process!

The union is organizing food, housing, and travel logistics to make it as simple as possible for folks to join us for this key event. If you’re interested in attending, please let us know by filling out this form by 5pm on Wednesday, November 8. We’ll follow up soon to coordinate logistics details with you.

We look forward to meeting you and continuing to build our collective power together!

In Solidarity,

The Joint Council of the UC Student-Workers Union, UAW 2865

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