FINALS WEEK STRIKE! Frequently Asked Questions
What is the strike about?
The strike is being called in regards to a series of Unfair Labor Practices (called Unfair Practice Charges or UPCs) filed against management. Management has escalated their intimidation tactics against union members and union organizing. Some UPCs allege: arresting members for picketing, threatening members with reprisal, docking striking members’ pay at disproportionate amounts. A list of detailed charges can be found here.
What is a finals week strike?
Like any strike, we pledge to withhold all labor while on strike. Any duties that are assigned to you during the days of the strike, you have the right to withhold from doing them. These responsibilities include, but are not limited to: grading, entering grades, proctoring exams, and holding office hours. Withholding all labor responsibilities is within your rights.
When will the strike officially start?
When will the strike be called if there is a strike? The strike will begin on Saturday, June 7th. The strike will officially be announced to management on May 31st. Before these dates, we are hoping to communicate our protest to management and possibly resolve the UPCs, so that the strike will not be carried out at all, but we must be prepared to go on strike if need be.
When will the strike end?
The strike is set to end on June 17th, unless management takes the required steps to address UPCs or resolves them with us; if UPCs are resolved, the strike will be called off before that date.
Will I have to make up the work during “Week 12”?
No.There is no such thing as Week 12. Once your contract is over, you do not have to resume labor responsibilities and it becomes the UC’s responsibility.
Can I go on a partial strike?
The union advises that you withhold all labor while you are striking. It may not be legal to carry out a partial strike, meaning that one performs some duties while not others. For example, we do not advise that you proctor an exam while on strike, but then withhold grades. Do not perform any work while you are on strike; again this is fully within your rights.
Will my pay be docked if I go on strike?
The University does not have to pay you for time not worked, such as if you strike for several days and thus do not work sufficient hours in any pay period. If, however, the strike lasts 8 days or longer (this one is set for 10 days) and if the UAW authorizes the strike (we are working on this and fully expect that they will–they did authorize the previous two strikes), then the UAW International will give us strike pay, which will amount to about $200. Your healthcare will not be cut.
Why are we going on strike again?
The strike in April was successful, but there is more work to be done. While we did demonstrate to management our ability to mobilize in protest of prior ULPs, management’s unlawful activity did not stop, but escalated instead. We are going on strike again to demand and end to management intimidation and retaliation.
How does this strike relate to bargaining?
It doesn’t. The strike is a response to a series of ULP’s filed against management. The strike is not about bargaining. For an update on the status of bargaining, click here.
Do I have to notify my program or professor?
It is illegal for your program or a faculty member to ask you if you will be participating in the strike, as this is considered polling. But, we recommend that you contact your program and/or your professor, if you wish to notify them. There is a letter template that you can use to communicate that you will be participating in the strike, if a strike is called. The letter also urges faculty members to contact Labor Relations Director Peter Chester–(510) 987-9919–to communicate their support of our protest of unlawful practices to management, as well as to sign the faculty petition addressed to President Janet Napolitano–(510) 987-9074—and contact her to communicate support as well.
How will this affect my students?
While withholding our labor affects students, professors, and supervisors, our employer is the UC. The strike is directed at the UC, who is responsible for committing multiple unfair labor practices. We may gain the support of students, faculty, and supervisors if we make it clear to them that it is the UC’s intimidation, threats, coercion, and unwillingness to treat its workers with respect that has led us to strike. We recommend that you speak to your students and faculty members about your participation in the potential strike. There is a letter template directed at undergraduate students communicating with them the importance of their support in the strike. The letter also urges them to contact Labor Relations.
However, when students ask, we can tell them that there is no reason to expect them to lose credit or have a difficult time graduating – the University can utilize a variety of other options, including doing what other institutions have done and mark student transcripts in a way that does not damage any student’s GPA.
What will happen to my student’s transcripts, if we do not enter their grades? At other universities where TA’s have gone on strike, the university has added a note to each student’s transcript stating that any delays are due to a strike. It is likely that the UC will something similar in this case. It is UC management’s responsibility to make up the work of their employees who have called and participated in a legal strike.
What would it take to settle before we go on strike?
We have initiated a sit-down with management before the strike, to see if we can talk about and settle the unfair practice charges. However, the best way to avoid a strike is to adequately prepare for a strike. We must demonstrate to management that we are willing and able to collectively act to protest management’s continued unlawful activities. We hope that faculty and students join us in asking management to stop its unlawful activities and to settle the existing unfair labor practices in good faith.
I am concerned that we don’t have the capacity to pull this off. While we want as many members to participate, given the large class sizes of which each of us is in charge, every member that goes on strike will have a huge impact. Already, numerous members on each campus have expressed their support and have pledged to participate in the strike if one is called. It is important to remember that properly preparing for a strike is the best way to prevent one.
Bargaining Update and Mass Action During Week 10
Why are we having a mass action?
While the unfair labor practice strike will be held during final’s week, a mass action will also be held during Week 10. The mass action will address bargaining. Management has yet to offer a fair contract. We will be mobilizing the mass action to push management to bargain in good faith and to settle with us for a fair labor contract. At UC Irvine, our officers are holding a Rally for the Contract on Tuesday, June 3rd, at noon at the flagpoles. For more information, or to get involved in our rally, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, a coalition of students and workers are organizing an info session and delegation to administration for Thursday, June 5th, to be held on the steps of Aldrich Hall starting at 11:00 am. Show up to learn more about our contract fight and participate in the delegation.
For a bargaining update, click here.
What is the difference between a mass action and a strike? Why are we having both?
During a mass action, you do not withhold your labor as you do during a strike. So, you must continue with your employment responsibilities during Week 10 and during the day of the mass action. The mass action demonstrates our ability to mobilize en masse around our labor contract, collectively communicating to UC management our message to settle on a fair contract. The mass action addresses bargaining. The strike does not address bargaining, but instead addresses the UPCs.