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Some Striking University of California Workers Reach Labor Deal

Nov. 29, 2022, 8:12 PM

Twelve thousand University of California academic researchers have reached a tentative agreement for higher wages to offset cost-of-living increases—but will remain on strike in solidarity with 36,000 workers who aren’t covered by the proposal.

The labor pact would raise wages for postdoctoral scholars by 20-23%, as much as $12,000 a year, according to the United Auto Workers union, which represents the student workers. The lowest-paid postdocs would receive a pay increase of 57% over five years, the union said. The proposal would also double the amount of paid parental and family leave to eight weeks for postdocs and academic researchers, and guarantee longer appointments for more job security.

The agreement must be ratified by a popular vote of the union members.

“We are proud to have reached agreements that address the soaring cost of living, and reflect the value of our contributions at UC,” Neal Sweeney, President of UAW Local 5810, said in a statement. “These agreements represent a new, best-in-class model that will improve quality of life—and the quality of research—for scientists across the US. It is now time for UC to make serious proposals to Academic Student Employees and Student Researchers and to reach fair agreements that recognize the contributions these workers make.”

Some 48,000 University of California student workers across the system’s 10 campuses have been on strike for 15 days—the largest coordinated labor disruption in 2022 and the largest higher education strike in at least three decades, according to Bloomberg Law’s database of work stoppages.

“Our dedicated colleagues are vital to UC’s research activities and we are very pleased to have reached agreements that honor their many important contributions,” Letitia Silas, UC’s executive director of system-wide labor relations, said in a statement. “These agreements also uphold our tradition of supporting these employees with compensation and benefits packages that are among the best in the country.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian Kullgren in Washington at ikullgren@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Martha Mueller Neff at mmuellerneff@bloomberglaw.com