FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
25 November 2022
BREAKING: UC STRIKERS UNFURL BANNER AT CAL-UCLA FOOTBALL GAME, ACADEMIC WORKERS CONTINUE TO DEMAND FAIR BARGAINING AND A STRONGER CONTRACT
Press contact: Britt Dawson (858) 699-1784 email@example.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. 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. 
“Strikers aren’t asking for anything outrageous. Graduate student salaries are only about 1% of UC’s
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$