Berkeley, CA – 35,654 Academic Workers across all 10 campuses of the University of California voted resoundingly to authorize their bargaining teams to call a strike if circumstances justify. UAW represents 48,000 Postdocs, Academic Student Employees, Graduate Student Researchers, and Academic Researchers at UC, who together power UC’s research and academic mission. In the face of numerous egregious unfair labor practices committed by the University, 36,558 workers voted, with 35,654 (or 97.53% of those who cast a ballot) voting to authorize their bargaining teams to call a strike. With supermajority participation, these are far and away the largest and most decisive strike authorization votes ever taken by Academic Workers in the United States.

“UC has left us no choice but to escalate our campaigns,” said Neal Sweeney, President of UAW 5810, which represents Postdoctoral scholars and Academic Researchers. “Postdoctoral scholars have been at the bargaining table for over a year and Academic Workers at all tables have been advocating for fair compensation and an equitable work environment. But rather than coming to fair agreements, the University has engaged in a wide variety of unlawful tactics. The UAW locals at UC have been forced to file more than 20 Unfair Labor Practices to address their refusal to provide the information we need to bargain, unilateral changes to our working conditions and more.”

Academic Workers perform the majority of teaching at UC, grade papers and perform the cutting-edge research that generates $8 billion in annual funding for UC instruction and research. Their work drives innovation in areas such as medicine, computer science, agriculture, and green energy.

 “UC’s unlawful conduct is preventing us from reaching fair agreements that guarantee equity and dignified compensation,” said Rafael Jaime, President of UAW 2865, which represents more than 19,000 Teaching Assistants, Tutors, and Readers. Extremely low compensation – many workers make less than $24,000 a year – is leaving workers severely rent burdened and struggling to remain in academia. UC’s failure to support a diverse workforce undermines the quality of research and education across the system.”

“Our goal throughout the bargaining process has been and continues to be to negotiate fair agreements with UC. Unfortunately, UC’s unlawful conduct has prevented that,” said Joyce Chan, a Postdoc at UCSD and bargaining team member. “The UAW bargaining teams remain at the ready to work around the clock with UC to reach fair agreements, and the membership has now also spoken: they are willing to take action to stop UC’s unlawful actions, if necessary.”

“I voted to authorize a strike because I want to do my work in an environment that is fair and equitable, where we can focus on our research instead of how we are going to make ends meet,” said Tarini Hardikar, a bargaining team member with Student Researchers United-UAW, which represents more than 17,000 student researchers at UC.  “I do this in solidarity with all 48,000 of my colleagues. It is insulting and unacceptable that UC is breaking the law instead of fairly negotiating cost of living adjustments which will determine whether or not many of us can afford to continue our work here.”

Learn more at FairUCNow.org.