1) Management has offered a 3%-per-year wage increase, which actually represents a wage cut when accounting for current and expected inflation in California. Furthermore, the meager campus fee remission offered is already waived for many students, and doesn’t go nearly far enough to address all of the extra tuition and fees for international, professional, and undergraduate student workers.
2) Management has ignored our demand for housing stipends and affordable campus housing to address the skyrocketing cost of rent in California. Student-workers listed this as a top priority in our bargaining survey—we must not leave the table without securing an economic package that meets members’ most important needs.
3) During our last contract campaign, we went on strike despite the “last, best and final” wage offer management gave us—and ultimately improved the wage offer by 9%. Because our labor keeps the UC running, striking is the single most powerful tool we have as workers.
4) Management also refuses to guarantee financial support for student-workers who might lose their DACA/TPS status, while also ignoring our demands around proactive solutions to police brutality. We should not settle a contract that fails on these vital topics.
We ask that you VOTE NO on management’s latest offer and instead that you help us fight back against management and escalate our pressure. We’ve heard over the past seven months from student-workers who are crushed by skyrocketing rents and who struggle to afford food and basic necessities. Hence, we were appalled to learn that management has ignored our testimonials and offered a paltry 3% per year raise. Even with partial fee remission and a small lump sum offered, the fact remains that we are underpaid for our labor. Moreover, that “lump sum” is a “signing bonus” for one year only that doesn’t stack with the fee remission in the first year, but replaces it. We can do better. In fact, during our last contract campaign, our union went on strike to demand higher wages, and we won a 17% wage increase—doubling management’s supposed “last, best, and final” offer. That’s why we don’t want to give up, but are instead eager to continue bargaining, and to win the demands we deserve.
You might hear it argued that we have nothing to gain, or will face losses, by pushing forward and escalating toward the possibility of a strike—that’s just inaccurate. Striking works. Recently, striking teachers in Arizona won a 19% wage increase. Striking teachers in West Virginia won virtually all of their demands on top of a massive wage increase. In Oklahoma, teachers went on strike and won big gains for their members, including a $6,000/year raise. The pattern is clear: where workers strike together, they win together. If we accept this current proposal, we lose this opportunity for another four years.
As a labor union, we’re dedicated to improving conditions for all workers, including student-workers of color, parents, undocumented folks, and international students. While the current contract offer includes some important gains, it falls severely short in a number of respects—particularly with regard to working with the administration to end police brutality on campus. Student-workers, campus workers and community members have been brutalized on multiple occasions by UC police across the ten campuses. Management’s offer, a single meeting to decide if police affect student-workers (which we’ve already demonstrated in bargaining), is not a step towards building a safer community for all. Our proposal demands a task force to explore alternatives to policing, and that the university notify student-workers when their workspaces are being surveilled by police on campus. The university has repeatedly downplayed these serious concerns, but it’s important that we don’t give up on them. Collective, direct action has the potential to win a contract that improves workplace safety for all our members.
We live in a critical time in which workers, women, people of color, undocumented people, trans and gender non-conforming people are increasingly under attack. By refusing to accept management’s insulting offer, we affirm that we will not be pushed around, but that we will use our collective strength to build a better world and a UC For All. Striking is the single most powerful tool that we have to win the demands we deserve. It can also help us to grow our membership by demonstrating the power that workers have. We ask that you VOTE NO on this offer, and instead that you join us in putting more pressure on management. Only through solidarity and struggle are we going to win.