Our local represents over 12,000 academic student employees in the University of California. We stand in solidarity with our two sister locals that also represent public education workers in the state: UAW 5810 that represents 6,000 postdoctoral researchers at the UC and UAW 4123 that represents over 6,000 academic student employees in the California State University system.
Given the nature of our daily work that includes teaching, researching, tutoring, reading and grading—we understand the importance of public higher education system and the urgent need to preserve it and expand it to serve the people of California.
What once was a truly public institution, completely free of tuition for students, is in the process of being privatized through the joint efforts of the State legislature, the UC Regents and the UC administration. Our current leaders have chosen to ‘solve’ the current economic crisis we are facing by balancing the budget on the backs of working families, the poor, and California students, rather than addressing the structural imbalances in our state budget and economy.
The privatization of the UC means a double set-back for all of us: First, it is an attack on a the right to education, a fundamental public service that was once accessible to all Californians. Second, it is an attack on organized labor and the rights and benefits of a very significant sector of public workers in California through wage cuts, imposed furloughs, layoffs, and now the privatization of the pension fund and rising healthcare costs.
Our union has decided not to remain silent nor complicit with the attempt to impose such an historical setback and defeat: the loss of an excellent public institution that provides public education and research for the people of California. This is why we are forming a Public Education Crisis Committee to fight and reverse these policies. We invite the workers, unions, and students of the University of California and all other public service workers and the communities they serve to join us in this important fight for the future of California. Together we are millions, together we are powerful. Come to our membership meetings to get informed and join the Public Education Crisis Committee!”