Solidarity Statement to University of Oregon grads on strike

Dear fellow graduate workers in the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) at the University of Oregon,

We, the UC Student-Workers Union (UAW Local 2865) that represents more than 13,000 graduate teaching assistants, readers and tutors across the nine University of California campuses, are writing to you in heartfelt solidarity with your ongoing strike. We are deeply inspired by your strong and tenacious campaign, and from all across California, we are keenly following the historic struggles in Eugene.

We strongly believe that paid parental leave is our fundamental right as workers, and a significant social and reproductive justice issue. In our most recent contract, we have also prioritized it as one of the core demands; we have won an extension of paid parental leave from 4 weeks to 6 weeks for birth parents, as well as 6 weeks of leave also for non-birth parents, 4 weeks of which are paid. As a union that believes that the labor movement cannot but be a feminist movement, we are heartened by your determination to win this most basic of rights as workers.

We are particularly inspired that you are on strike for the first time in your history, and that you have gained strong support from faculty, staff and undergraduate students, countering the management’s disgraceful attempts to recruit scabs throughout campus. Our power to collectively withhold labor is the most fundamental and ultimate power we have as workers, in a society where we are deprived of control over our own labor. It is through strikes that labor movement has won everything we have, and it is through strikes that we demonstrate the truth that university works only because we do. Your strike sets a stirring example and strengthens the entire academic labor movement.

We, the academic workers across the country and beyond, are together facing accelerating levels of attacks on our working conditions, livelihoods and opportunities. We share a common struggle against the logic of austerity and privatization, and with strong bonds of solidarity among the labor movements on many campuses, we can work to create an academia free of oppressions and exploitations.

Academic Workers of the World, Unite!

In Struggle,
UC Student-Workers Union, UAW 2865