Thousands of college workers demonstrated again Tuesday on all 10 University of California campuses in a statewide strike calling for better wages and benefits.
Contract talks produced “good progress” on Monday, the first day of the strike, but the university system then informed the union that negotiations would not resume until Wednesday, according to Rafael Jaime, a president of the local union.
“Workers are really frustrated with the slow process so far,” Jaime said at a protest at UCLA, where he is a teaching assistant. “They are ready to stay here as long as it takes.”
In a statement ahead of the strike, UC said it entered the talks with a “genuine willingness to compromise”, adding that “numerous tentative agreements” on issues such as health and safety had been reached.
Unions representing some 48,000 teaching assistants, researchers, postdoctoral fellows, tutors and markers say the vast majority of members went to the picket lines. They say they are seeking big pay raises and child care subsidies to meet the cost of living in cities like Los Angeles, San Diego and Berkeley, where housing prices are skyrocketing.
The workers are asking for a minimum annual base salary of $54,000.
The UC has proposed a salary scale increase of 5% in the first year and 3% thereafter, but the unions say this is not enough.
The organizers of the United Auto Workers, which represent the workers concerned, say they have set no end date for the work stoppage.