UAW Workers at UC Ratify Industry-Leading Contracts, Ending the Largest Strike of the Year with Historic Gains

Los Angeles, CA – 40 days into the largest strike of the year, and the largest strike ever at any institute of higher education, 36,000 academic workers at UC have reached final agreement on new contracts. The agreements make historic gains in compensation, childcare subsidies and paid leaves, and include groundbreaking new protections against bullying and discrimination. The vote for UAW 2865 was 11,386 to 7,097, and the vote for SRU-UAW was 10,057 to 4,640.

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Click here for detailed information on the contract for UAW 2865, which represents more than 19,000 Teaching Assistants, Graders, Readers and Tutors. Click here for detailed information on the contract for Student Researchers United-UAW, which represents 17,000 Student Researchers across the UC system. According to the terms of both agreements, the strike is now over, and workers can return to their positions. 

“The dramatic improvements to our salaries and working conditions are the result of tens of thousands of workers striking together in unity,” said Rafael Jaime, President of UAW 2865. “These agreements redefine what is possible in terms of how universities support their workers, who are the backbone of their research and education enterprise. They include especially significant improvements for parents and marginalized workers, and will improve the quality of life for every single academic employee at the University of California.” 

“For the first time ever, Student Researchers now have legal contractual protections at UC,” said Tarini Hardikar, SRU bargaining team member at UC Berkeley. SRU-UAW was the largest union to form in 2021, after a near-strike forced UC to recognize the union. “The rights we secured today will help ensure that victims of harassment and discrimination aren’t forced off their career paths, will make UC more family-friendly, and take important steps towards paying us what we are worth. It will help ensure that UC can support a diverse workforce, which will improve the quality of research and teaching across the system.” 

The terms of the 2.5 year contracts guarantee that wages will rise significantly for all workers, and up to 80% for some of the lowest paid. Improvements in childcare and dependent coverage mean that more parents will be able to provide health care for their children. First-of-their kind anti-bullying measures will allow workers to finally address the systemic power imbalance in academia. And three years of remission of Non-Resident Student Tuition are now codified, meaning that international workers will be able to enforce this right and UC will not be able to take it away. 

“This is a tremendous victory for not only the members of UAW Local 2865 and SRU-UAW but for all academic workers,” said UAW President Ray Curry.  “The entire UAW family celebrates this victory with them.”

“These agreements set a new standard for institutions of higher education across the U.S.,” said UAW Director for Region 6 Mike Miller. “Unions make sense for academic workers. Issues like low pay, unstable benefits and inequitable working conditions aren’t going away on their own. Unions give workers the tools to make change on those issues. We look forward to building on the strength of these new contracts to improve the quality of life for every worker at UC and other universities.”

This week’s successful vote creates the opportunity for unprecedented partnership between the University and its graduate student workers,” said Darrell Steinberg, who served as Chief Mediator. “By significantly raising the wage and benefit standard for its graduate student workers, the University is making a national statement. California is the best place in the world to obtain a valuable graduate degree. Thanks to the UAW for fighting so hard to help achieve this great moment.”