Online Comment from Karin Root

As an experienced graduate student and TA (28 classes “taught” so far), I am appalled that UC’s most common response to the union’s proposed and much needed improvements in our employment conditions is to flat out reject them!

Over the years of working as a TA I have increasingly felt exploited by the UC.  It is impossible to live on a TA salary, much less raise a family.  We are not covered by disability insurance, social security, or a pension plan.  Many of us are forced to seek additional employment, at the expense of our studies and health.

At the same time, we are deeply committed to teaching and eager to pursue our research projects.  We need the university to show us tangible, practical support in order to be able to do this.  The current situation is unsustainable.

As graduate student employees we are in a vulnerable position to air our grievances, given that our academic progress and future employment is decided by the very people who design and impose your policies.

I am asking you to come to the negotiation table in good faith and with a recognition of our contribution to the overall mission of the university.  I work hard to ensure that my students learn to become critical thinkers and succeed at their studies; but I can not do my job if I am underpaid, have insufficient employment security, can not save for retirement, and am not protected in the case of disability.

Karin Root
Department of Sociology
UC Davis