On December 8, graduate employees at University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) voted by a landslide margin for a wildcat grade strike, refusing to submit final grades unless the administration gives them a cost of living adjustment (COLA). UCSC grad employees are asking for a cost of living adjustment (COLA) of $1,412 per month so they can afford to pay rent. Currently many of them pay over 50 percent of their wages towards rent – at a university where the president receives a $6,500 per month housing stipend in addition to her generous $400,000/year salary. At the final grade submission deadline on December 18, the administration had not met the workers’ demands and the graduate employees did not submit grades.
By February 10, as the administration had still not met their demands, UCSC graduate employees went on a full wildcat strike, putting a halt to classes, lectures, sections, labs, and office hours. Administrators have refused to bargain with graduate students or provide a living wage. University administration has responded to the graduate employees’ peaceful resistance with police force, bringing in police from other counties at the cost of $300,000/day. At least 18 supporters of the grad employees have been arrested.
Eugene DSA’s labor committee stands in solidarity with the UCSC grad employees on strike for living wages. Workers have been on a full wildcat strike for over a week now and have faced violence and threats of being fired. In an email to graduate employees on February 14, the administration threatened not to renew contracts for graduate employees who had not submitted grades, threatening not just their livelihoods but their ability to continue their education, as teaching appointments are tied to tuition reductions. This is a crucial time to show support for the strikers. Those who are able to are encouraged to donate to the workers’ strike fund on GoFundMe.