BREAKING: Thousands of UAW Academic Union Workers Across UC Campuses Vote to Authorize Strike


Niloufar Shahbandi

The United Auto Workers 2865 announced today, Thursday, Nov. 3, that 98% of UAW-represented workers voted to authorize a multi-unit strike by UAW bargaining teams in their negotiations for living wages with the University of California. A strike could occur as early as Nov. 14, depending on the circumstances of negotiations. During this strike, academic workers would not perform their required duties and instead take part in picket lines across UC campuses.

A total of 36,558 total votes were cast in the Strike Authorization Vote, held between Oct. 26 to Nov. 2, which asked members to vote “Yes” if they wished to give the UAW bargaining teams the authority to call a strike given justified circumstances during their negotiations.

The strike will be in conjunction with the Students Researchers United-United Auto Workers, a newly-formed union of student researchers across the UCs. SAV voters consisted of academic student employees, academic researchers, postdocs, and student researchers. The length of the strike would vary until the UC adheres to the unions’ demands. 

The SAV was called for in response to the UC’s “unfair labor practices” some of which include:

  • Bypassing the union
  • Unilateral changes to workers’ conditions without negotiation
  • Refusal to provide necessary information for negotiations
  • Obstructing the bargaining process

UAW 2865 states that academic workers have filed more than 20 charges with the Public Employment Relations Board regarding such actions. Unions within the UC system have been calling for living wages for years, with UC-AFT almost reaching the picket lines in 2021 and UAW protesting last year for similar concerns.

While the UC does not have the right to terminate or discipline workers for partaking in a lawful strike, they have the right to cease pay for workers during a strike. However, UAW members who complete their strike duties will be eligible for UAW’s Strike and Defense Fund, which amount to $400 per week, in addition to medical benefits under the circumstances that UC withholds healthcare benefits. 

During the voting period, students received messages from teaching assistants regarding the strike and their struggles. Reddit user r\WillBigly posted earlier this week an email from their TA urging undergraduate students to learn about the issue and stand with academic workers.

In an email sent out, UAW shared that the bargaining teams are meeting on Nov. 3 to discuss their next steps.

To learn more about the SAV and the strike, please visit the Fair UC Now website.

The UCSD Guardian has contacted UAW 2865 for a comment and will update the article with their response. 

The UCSD Guardian will continue to update this story as it progresses.

Photo courtesy of UAW2865 Instagram