A fortnight after a strike began on campuses in the University of California system, university researchers and postdoctoral fellows have reached tentative agreements that include pay increases to reflect the cost of living, officials said Tuesday. United Auto Workers.
Post-docs and university researchers said they would continue the strike in solidarity with university students and student workers who have not yet voted to ratify the proposed agreements, according to the UAW.
The system-wide strike began Nov. 14 and was organized by 48,000 UAW-represented workers. Graduate students employed as researchers, instructors, teaching assistants, tutors and readers, as well as university researchers and postdoctoral fellows have gone on strike to demand higher salaries, better leaves for parents and caregivers, a child care assistance and full funding for public transit.
Striking workers accuse the university system of not supporting a diverse workforce, which they say undermines the quality of research and education. Workers say college pay doesn’t match the cost of living and say unfair working conditions are driving scholars out of academia, according to their website.
The deal will be for new five-year contracts effective through September 20, 2027, according to the University of California system.
Most postdoctoral workers will receive salary increases of 20% to 23% by October 2023. The currently lowest-paid postdoctoral worker will receive a 57% salary increase, according to the UAW.
There will also be annual salary increases from 2024 to 2027 that vary based on experience, according to the UAW.
Postdocs will also now get eight weeks of paid parental and family leave, double the 4 weeks they had before the deal, according to the UAW.
The university system also said it would agree to negotiate reduced fees or free access to regional transit systems.
Postdocs will also receive childcare grants starting at $2,500 per year, eventually rising to $2,800 per year, the first time they receive childcare grants after 12 years. of demand, according to the UAW.
Most university researchers will receive salary increases of 29%, which will vary according to scale and merit, during the term of their contract. They will now receive full parental and family leave for eight weeks, up from 70% of the salary they currently receive, according to the UAW.
The student researchers last made a compensation offer to UC 12 days ago, but the system has yet to respond, according to the UAW.
“We are proud to have reached agreements that address the soaring cost of living and reflect the value of our contributions to UC,” said Neal Sweeney, president of UAW Local 5810.
“These agreements represent a new, best-in-class model that will improve the quality of life – and the quality of research – for scientists across the United States. Now is the time for UC to make some serious proposals to university students and to student researchers and to reach fair agreements that recognize the contributions of these workers,” Sweeney added.
The university system also applauded the agreement reached.
“Our dedicated colleagues are essential to UC’s research activities and we are very pleased to have reached agreements that honor their many important contributions,” said Letitia Silas, executive director of system-wide labor relations. . “These agreements also confirm our tradition of supporting these employees with some of the best compensation and benefit plans in the country.”