Letter to Chancellor Drake, Vice Chancellor Parham, and Executive Vice Chancellor Provost Gillman

Dear Chancellor Drake,

As you are aware, UAW 2865, the UC Student-Workers Union, which represents over 12,000 academic student employees across the state, is currently negotiating its contract with University of California management. As members of our bargaining team meet with management today at UCLA, we are here to enlist your support for our demands for fair working conditions and an accessible and safe university. We ask that you pledge your support for the following demands:

Competitive wages. Currently at UC Irvine, the annual Teaching Assistant stipend is $17,446.50 for an incoming student, though our campus financial aid office estimates that up to $25,219.00 is required to cover the cost of living for the entire academic year. Competitive wages for Teaching Assistants are essential not only to ensure fair living and working conditions for TAs, but also ensure the competitive standing of the UC in relation to its peer institutions.

Access and opportunities for undocumented students. Our union recognizes that the UC has previously supported undocumented students by encouraging undocumented students to pursue a higher education. However, we are demanding that the pursuit of higher education not be limited to the application process, but rather include appropriate support, funding, and equal access.

More all-gender bathrooms. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT), gender non-conforming and queer-identified students and workers face discrimination at the UC every day due to the lack of a sufficient number of all-gender restrooms on every UC campus. All people have the right to be respected and affirmed in their gender identities and expressions. Nobody should experience disability- or gender-related harassment when using the restroom, a basic health need. Ensuring that all UC students and workers have access to a restroom that is free of hostility, harassment, intimidation and violence.

Affordable and appropriate housing. Rising costs of housing on UC campuses have created an immense financial burden on student workers and their families. While the financial stress has a negative effect on our research and teaching capabilities, faculty have expressed significant concerns that the cost of housing is driving competitive graduate students to pursue their careers at other universities.

Appropriate TA to student ratios. Growing class sizes at the UC have been detrimental to the quality and access of education. As frontline teachers at the UC, we are concerned with the quality of our pedagogy. Workload increases from growing sections have made it more and more difficult for us to engage with our students.

We are attaching our report, “Towards Mediocrity,” which further highlights the importance of these issues and their relation to quality of our public university. We sincerely hope that you examine our demands and pledge your support for them as we bring them to the bargaining table. Please direct your response to us at irvine@uaw.2865.

Sincerely,

UAW 2865 Irvine Members

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