Owed Signing Bonuses from Fall Still Not Received by UCSD Student Workers

Many student workers at UC San Diego have still not received signing bonuses due to them from Fall Quarter 2018, Head Steward of United Auto Workers at UC San Diego John Sarracino informed the UCSD Guardian. Sarracino explained that with the most recent labor negotiation with UCSD, students employed at the beginning of Fall Quarter 2018 would receive a $100 signing bonus.

According to Sarracino, this issue has largely gone unnoticed and the university has taken little action.

“At the moment, UCSD’s position is that the issue doesn’t exist,” Sarracino said. “We are currently going through a grievance period — a contract isn’t respected, so we have to go back and forth with UCSD with issues not being upheld.”

Some students were able to get their bonuses; however, this still didn’t fix the problem.

“We reached out to our membership to see if they received a bonus, then we took a list of people to the labor relations division of the UCSD administration,” Sarracino said. “The UCSD administration looked at specific people and handled specific instances but didn’t investigate a broader claim.”

The UAW investigated this issue at other campuses as well.

“We filed a complaint [about] the local campus and asked our membership whether they had received this payment,” Sarracino said. “With some campuses, there has been a positive interaction: they are actually performing an audit. To be honest, UCSD and [UC Santa Barbara] haven’t been very helpful.”

The administration has claimed that it will fix the issue by the March paycheck.

This is just one instance of payroll issues that have been recently occurring for student workers across the UC system, however.

The University of California Office of the President sent out a joint statement with the Union of Academic Student Employees (UAW 2865) on Feb. 25 regarding compensation for student payroll issues that occurred Fall Quarter 2018.

During September 2018, UCPath, a new payroll system that had already been implemented at UC Merced and UC Riverside, was implemented at UCSB and UCLA. This implementation caused payroll issues for over one hundred student workers. Around 150 student workers didn’t receive payments or were paid the incorrect amount for their work.

Not receiving timely payments had detrimental financial effects on students.

Students were “struggling to pay rent, tuition, and other time-sensitive payments that would otherwise be taken care of with biweekly or monthly paychecks,” according to an article by FEM Magazine.  

The article implies that the administration had not been helpful when students asked questions about their paychecks. For example, the administrators would say that they were looking into the issue without any promise of a solution.

In the meantime, students were given advice on how to acquire food stamps.

“Student workers have received emails from their bosses providing various food-related resources, such as the Santa Monica Food Bank, the CPO Food Closet, and how to apply for food stamps through CalFresh,” the article stated.

Sarracino explained that it was a long fight and that the administration took a while to even admit there was an issue, as evident with the statement released this past Monday.

“Today, both sides have reached an agreement to resolve student employee grievances about the outstanding payroll issue,” the statement said. “Each affected academic student employee will receive $150 [net after taxes].”

Sarracino stated that one of the issues was that students didn’t know that they could go somewhere else to get their paychecks. No one had a clear idea of where to go.

An exact date to resolve this issue has not yet been provided.

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