Author: Jean

University of California Academic Labor Strike

University of California Academic Labor Strike

Editorial: A strike by UC academic workers would tarnish the prestigious university system


University of California, San Diego

The academic labor strike at UC San Diego has begun.

Academic workers at the university are engaging in the first strike by workers at any UC campus since the early 1980s. A strike by academic workers would tarnish the prestigious university system and threaten the quality of education that all San Diego State University and UC San Diego students deserve.

The union, United Auto Workers Local 705, representing more than 6,000 academic workers and university faculty, has announced its intentions and plans for the strike. It has sent letters and e-mails to faculty and staff describing the need for the strike and urging workers to participate. The union is asking the chancellor, Mark Yudof, to approve the union’s demands. If he does not, union officials say, the union may call for a strike or negotiate other measures.

The union demands

The union says it wants four items:

To preserve academic freedom, free speech and academic freedom of speech for all students on campus.

To provide the chancellor with copies of union contracts (because, without a contract, academic freedom does not exist.)

To allow the union to bargain collectively for wages, benefits, health insurance and a living stipend for academic employees on campus.

To guarantee academic freedom and free speech for all students on campus by implementing a mandatory faculty review board and by establishing limits on the use of disciplinary measures (such as suspension and expulsion) that may be imposed for speech critical of the university, by enforcing faculty protections against retaliation for speech critical of the university, and by having a process for reviewing the use of such measures, including peer review.

Students on campus deserve to have a voice to express grievances and concerns without fear of reprisal.

Our response

Although I was not part of the UC bargaining process, I am deeply concerned about the University of California academic labor strike. It is deeply concerning that UC faculty members, including myself, have to consider the well-being of our students as we seek to balance our financial priorities against academic freedom. It is also alarming that UC professors can take these actions

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