SACRAMENTO — Postdoctoral students and university researchers at the University of California announced Friday evening that they would return to work on Monday, partially ending a week-long strike but bringing little relief to hundreds of thousands of workers. undergraduate students whose campuses were disrupted amid finals.
Surprise results released Friday of the ratification vote by about 12,000 of the oldest strikers cemented a tentative agreement to raise salaries and secure additional benefits, including eight weeks of full-pay family leave for researchers.
But the agreement, announced last week with two of the four bargaining units involved in the walkout, left some 36,000 workers still on strike. Graduate students who help teach classes and assign grades to undergraduates will continue their work stoppage, and campuses are still figuring out how to assess final grades and change the end of their academic terms and semesters.
Earlier Friday, the university and negotiators for those bargaining units announced they would move to private mediation to try to end the walkout, which has canceled classes, closed labs and disrupted the operations of the prestigious university system. public since November 14.
The University of California’s 10-campus system has nearly 300,000 students and is a crucial state’s primary search engine for the nation’s most innovative industries. The five-year agreements achieved last week with the two bargaining units would increase salaries by about 20% for most postdoctoral students by next fall and increase salaries and benefits for university researchers.
While the two remaining, and larger, bargaining units agreed to the university’s request for private mediation, nearly 90% of postdoctoral workers and nearly 80% of university researchers voted to formally ratify their agreements and return to the labor while the rest of the strike workers worked to resolve a stalemate over wages.
Postdoctoral students and university researchers said last week that they would remain on strike because UC failed to reach an agreement with the rest of the employees left without contracts. But by ratifying the contracts on Friday, workers bound themselves back to work on Monday.
All of the strikers said their pay fell far short of what they needed to make ends meet in California, especially given inflationary pressures and an ongoing housing shortage. The university accused their demands of being financially unsustainable.
Jade Moore, a radiation oncology postdoctoral student at the University of California, San Francisco and a member of the bargaining team, welcomed the new contract for postdoctoral workers, saying it would set a new standard for postdoctoral students at across the country.
“Tens of thousands of UC university workers have put everything on the line to create a stronger and fairer UC,” she said in a statement late Friday.