UC Strikers Unfurl Massive Banner at Cal-UCLA Game Demanding a Living Wage


25 November 2022

image cred: Diablo Rising Tide



Press contact: Britt Dawson (858) 699-1784 britdaws@gmail.com

Hi-res pictures available upon request.

Berkeley, CA– At the Cal–UCLA football game today, a group of striking UC Berkeley academic workers and allies scaled two flagpoles and raised a 30-foot banner calling on the University of California to stop unfair labor practices and to agree to pay their academic workers a living wage.

Dressed as referees, two climbers—fern Wildtruth, a UC Berkeley PhD student, and Christina Liu, a community ally—scaled two 40-foot-high flagpoles and unfurled a banner reading “Flag on the play: Unfair labor practice #fairUCnow #UAWonstrike.” The banner is calling attention to a strike—now in its 11thday—by 48,000 graduate student-workers and postdoctoral scholars affiliated with the United Auto Workers union. “UC needs to pay us enough to afford basic needs—like food, shelter, and child support,” says Britt Dawson, a striking graduate student-worker at UC Berkeley. “The typical salary for a graduate student instructor at UC is just $24,000—half of the living wage for a single adult in the counties where UC Berkeley and UCLA are based.[1] Many of our members have children, and many of them are rent- and food-insecure as the result of UC’s disregard for their workers’ basic needs.”

The strike—the largest ever in U.S. higher education history—has been called by the unions representing student and postdoctoral workers following 17 months of unsuccessful collective bargaining, during which UC consistently refused to pay crucial academic workers a living wage. During negotiations, UC has repeatedly violated U.S. labor law, and dozens of complaints for unfair labor practices have been filed against the administration. [2]

“Strikers aren’t asking for anything outrageous. Graduate student salaries are only about 1% of UC’s

image cred: @curtis_V0llmar

budget, but we do so much of the teaching and research at the University,” said fern Wildtruth, one of the two climbers and a striking PhD student at Berkeley. “We’re asking for a living wage in compensation because we need that to be able to focus on our work. I’m really distressed when I hear from my international peers how much of a barrier the $15,000 in extra tuition that they need to pay is. But one of the things that we’re trying to get included in our contract, and which it seems like U.C. is finally looking into, is public transit passes; we need to be re-structuring everything to make the collective behaviors that reduce global heating the default.”

The group of students and allies—who are not affiliated with the UAW union leadership—say that the strikers are ready to do what it takes to win, including striking into the spring if necessary. As the semester ends and final grades loom, it’s up to UC to start taking bargaining seriously if they want business as usual to continue on the ten UC campuses. High-resolution pictures upon request.

1) See the MIT Living Wage Calculator, created by Amy K. Glasmeier: https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://livingwage.mit.edu/counties/06001,https:/*livingwage.mit.edu/counties/06037__;Lw!!PxibshUo2Yr_Ta5B!xIYrtpEdeh0BU4TRt6bvUy-yOLJhp5kcvYVWa1MBTK80-V5tS0D1xDZGVeZrpBXQgEqJ4fIm5f2UE2zLiXVDDJ-QMsk$

2.) For a tracker of UC’s unfair labor practices, see: https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.fairucnow.org/ulp/__;!!PxibshUo2Yr_Ta5B!xIYrtpEdeh0BU4TRt6bvUy-yOLJhp5kcvYVWa1MBTK80-V5tS0D1xDZGVeZrpBXQgEqJ4fIm5f2UE2zLiXVDv14-aws$


Dedicated Pipeline Fighter & Water Protector, Joye Braun, Passes Away

cross-posted from Indigenous Environmental Network

Eagle Butte, SD – Joye Braun (Wambli Wiyan Ka’win), a citizen of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Nation and dedicated water protector, passed away at her home on Sunday, November 13th. She was 53 years old. Joye was the National Pipeline organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network, IEN representative for the People Vs Fossil Fuels Coalition and was a proud servant for her people as a grassroots advocate for climate justice.

Joye traveled extensively throughout Turtle Island to support Indigenous struggles against extraction and colonization. She was a nonviolent direct action organizer and policy advocate who trained hundreds of people over the years. She was known as a firestorm when compelled to champion calls to action, and was fiercely loyal to family, friends, and her community-at-large.

As a founder of the Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock, hers was the first lodge to go up and one of the last to come down. Joye was one of the leaders who maintained the grounding tenets of peace and prayer in the months that followed the establishment of this historic and pivotal moment in Indigenous history.

“Joye was a force to be reckoned with, but to those who knew her well, her heart was as big as Turtle Island and she would give her last meal or pair of moccasins to those in need,” said Kandi White, IEN Programs Director and friend. “Her advice and counsel was sought by many, she could always be counted on to speak the truth and she pulled no punches.  For this, and so much more, she was respected by colleagues and adversaries alike. Joye is/was the epitome of a Modern Day Warrior. We will continue the work she was dedicated to in her honor; just as she would expect us to. Our sister will be greatly missed.”

PODCAST: How Dirty is Clean Energy? ft. Raquel Dominguez w/ Earthworks

cross-posted from the Green and Red Podcast

We’re currently seeing a drive towards the growth of the renewable energy (RE) sector. We’re seeing a new iteration of corporate liberalism which allows the state to expand markets, in this case for renewable energy, but at a cost related to justice and health of communities in or near areas extracting materials for the RE sector. The most recent example of this is the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The IRA created incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles, renewable energy and more and it provides $27 billion in funding for accelerating clean energy technologies.

Listen in: https://bit.ly/3UzVx7j

So the question as we’re seeing the growth, and government funded growth, of renewable energy, is how clean is it really?

In our latest episode, we speak with Raquel Dominguez (@dominguez_raque) with Earthworks (@Earthworks) about clean energy and a circular economy, the impacts of mining for the RE sector and reactions from state and non-state actors to this issue.