Candidate Statements for October 29 – 30 Campus Vacancy Election at UC Irvine

Head Steward

Moshe Lichman

I am a second year international graduate student in the Computer Science department. Having signed up for the union as soon as I started grad school last year, I am already an experienced, successful activist. I have increased membership and participation in the union within my department as well as campus-wide. I am also active in the Associated Graduate Students (AGS), as well as many other UCI and departmental groups. Even after only one year, I already have a lot of influence within these Irvine and UC-wide decision-making bodies. My continued hard work in these groups throughout the last year has improved our lives as graduate students, both social and academic.

I am running for Head Steward of our union, UAW 2865. I ask for your vote so that I can continue to fight for the following:

1.     Winning a great contract – currently being negotiated.

To ensure a fair, competitive contract for student workers, we must mobilize and increase membership numbers and build support for our contract campaign. I have put, and will continue to put, much effort into signing up new members as well as informing and increasing the participation of existing ones. This is the only way we can gain competitive wages, affordable housing, family friendly benefits and other much-needed benefits for academic student employees.

2.     Continuing to fight for the rights of Research Assistants to form a union.

As a Computer Science grad student, I understand the importance of having the protection of collective bargaining rights both when we work as Research Assistants as well as when we are Teaching Assistants. I believe that by having a large membership rate among the science departments, we can better fight for our right to choose to have a union – a right we currently do not have under state law.

3.     Increasing diversity and pluralism among elected union officers and members.

The great majority of current union officers come from the Social/Political Sciences. As a result of that, not many students outside of those departments are informed about day to day, and even important actions being taken by the union. I intend to change that by increasing both the participation of international students and students from the hard sciences in union decision-making and mobilization.

A vote for me is a vote for a demonstrably effective leader.


Michael Briante

My name is Michael Briante, and I am running for the position of head steward in the UC student-worker union, UAW local 2865. I am a third year PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at UC Irvine.

I first became involved in labor organizing as an undergraduate at UC Davis. In response to the first wave of budget cuts, I rallied, attended meetings as well as teach-ins, and became more familiar with union activities. I have been a member of our local at UCI for over two years. During this time I helped organize and continue to participate in the first healthcare committee in response to recent changes in the system-wide graduate student healthcare plan. I have also been involved in other campus organizations such as the Associated Graduate Students (AGS). Through my time spent with AGS, I have encouraged the participation of other graduate students who have not been exposed to Union activities.

My interest in the position of head steward stems from my desire to represent and voice the concerns of my fellow graduate students. These include but are not limited to: facilitating more graduate student researcher participation; continuing to promote affordable housing; negotiating reforms to graduate student healthcare; and bridging the interests of the Union and larger communities. With regards to healthcare, I am specifically concerned with promoting affordable coverage for graduate students, especially those with dependents, and advocate preventative healthcare services. I fully support all the current and previous work done by our negotiating team to democratize contract demands. I will continue to bring all of my passion, enthusiasm, and energy to this position with the hopes of improving the lives of all my fellow students.