Graduate Students Protest for Livable Wages
Photo: USCB 4 Cola / Facebook
By edhat staff
UC Santa Barbara graduate students join in on the protest demanding a cost of living adjustment.
On Thursday evening, graduate students agreed to join in solidarity with UC Santa Cruz (UCSC) graduate students who were threatened to lose their job if they didn't end their strike.
The UCSC students have been holding a wildcat strike, meaning a strike by unionized workers without union leadership approval, following a monthslong campaign for a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in raises for teaching assistants who state they cannot afford the cost of living in Santa Cruz, reports The Santa Cruz Sentinel.
— Medha (@monjaury) February 21, 2020
Last week UC President Janet Napolitano issued an ultimatum to UCSC graduate students, turn in your grades or face termination. Her open letter stated the UC Regents have offered benefits to Teaching Assistants in a collective bargaining agreement through June 30, 2022. These include a waiver of tuition, a $300 campus fee remission, a 3% annual wage increase, one-time signing bonus, child care subsidy, and remission of any health care premiums.
“Holding undergraduate grades hostage and refusing to carry out contracted teaching responsibilities is the wrong way to go,” Napolitano stated. “Therefore, participation in the wildcat strike will have consequences, up to and including the termination of existing employment at the University.”
Back at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB), graduate students are demanding their own COLA of $1,807.51 a month and scheduled a "Doomsday Strike" on Friday.
The largest gathering took place at noon with the protestors meeting in front of the UCSB Library. They then plan to march to Cheadle Hall, UCSB's main administration building which houses Chancellor Henry Yang's office. Protestors plan to occupy the building until midnight unless Chancellor Yang stands with the graduate students and calls for Napolitano to stand down her threats.
Organizers of the UCSB protest state they are now not only fighting for a living wage but "now also fight for the dignity and respect that all students and workers deserve."
Hundreds of graduate students showed up to today’s UCSB COLA rally, held in solidarity with the UCSC graduate students on strike. pic.twitter.com/GtJX2NXUnL
— Evelyn Spence (@evelynrosesc) February 21, 2020