After a dynamic, multi-year struggle led by student-workers, UC Research Assistants won the legal right to join our union and collectively determine their working conditions! Just before midnight on Sunday, October 15, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 201 into law. This bill, authored by State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), extends collective bargaining rights to Research Assistants (RAs) in California public higher education systems, establishing parity with thousands of RAs and Teaching Assistants across the country who already enjoy this right. Please contact us if you are interested in becoming involved in our campaign to bring UC Research Assistants into our Local.
Congratulations and thank you to all of the student-workers who lobbied in Sacramento, signed petitions, filled out surveys, and organized to get this bill passed. Many thanks also to our sister locals, UAW 5810 (UC Postdocs) and UAW 4123 (CSU Student-Workers), who collaborated in this effort, as well as to our bill’s sponsor, Senator Nancy Skinner. As a graduate student, Senator Skinner was one of the activists responsible for the creation of UAW 2865 in the first place!
The passage of this bill is a turning point in a long journey. The UC has fought against RA collective bargaining rights for 35 years. Five years ago, Governor Brown vetoed similar legislation, caving to the UC administration’s fierce opposition to labor rights. This time, however, Governor Brown did the right thing, affirming that Research Assistants are employees who deserve the same protections against overwork, discrimination, harassment, etc., as every other employee.
While this phase of the campaign is over, the fight is just beginning. Now the real work of organizing our colleagues who work as Research Assistants/GSRs begins. If you would like to get involved, or you know RAs/GSRs on your campus who would be interested in our campaign, please contact us. Please also be in touch if you receive communication from the UC administration or your supervisors about this legislation.
The UAW 2865 RA Committee