Report from Berkeley: UC graduate students plan statewide strike.
 Photo by Ireland Wagner/staff 
Report from a New Indicator Collective member at UC Berkeley
March 7, 2020
This is growing pretty quickly system-wide. Up here at Cal, 6 departments have declared themselves strike ready. More departments will vote on readiness Monday. The faculty has been quite supportive: there are over 420 signers on the faculty statement of support for students as of today. The UCB faculty association has come out strongly in support.
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It’s also important to note that while the union removed demilitarization of UC campuses from their demands during contract negotiation a couple of years back, the wildcat strike renews the call for the defunding and removal of UC police from campuses, taking this beyond a matter of wages for workers to a systemic critique of austerity, prioritization of oppression and repression, and the experience of insecurity for many folks at the hands of the police.
Berkeley chancellor and central campus is sending out emails to all students stating that while they sympathize with graduate students, the demands would provoke a fiscal crisis: this is a retread of neoliberal austerity that has reigned at UC for decades. Meanwhile, Berkeley has spent over $1m in additional police costs in the name of protecting free speech every time a right wing provocateur like Milo Yiannopoulos, Anne Coulter, etc., comes to town to speak to a handful of students and meets resistance from the radical left community.
LA Times piece on the spreading strike sentiment: K4OkPUQQ_6IR03r1-VJRamWhb_ZRkKDb2uJVMHREpnZzJogEQuM
I’m in touch with folks at University of Arizona who are organizing to meet UC president (and vigorous deporter) Napolitano when she visits for the Festival of Books there next weekend. There’s also active and reciprocal organizing in solidarity with lecturers and adjunct faculty, who have even fewer rights than graduate students. Various other system campuses have sites for their strike organization:
Santa Barbara:


From UC Santa Cruz ):

“UCSC has sparked an unprecedented mass movement. UCLA and UC Berkeley are poised to join UCSC and UC Santa Barbara and begin a full teaching strike next week, while UC San Diego today voted to join UC Davis in a grading strike to withhold winter grades, while UC Irvine and UC Riverside continue to organize toward a full strike. Meanwhile over 3,000 academics around the world are preparing an academic boycott of the UC system in solidarity with striking graduate students. This strike fights for the future of higher education and this fight is going global.”
The wildcat strike isn’t protected by labor law, so there is no strike pay for workers. The UC filed a ULP suit of their own against UAW (the graduate student union) charging that they organized the wildcat strike illegally. There’s a strike fund GoFundMe page for UCSC workers if you’re inclined and able to support them:
If the ULP action by the union moves forward in April, then workers will be able to draw from the strike fund, but that’s still a month or more away.


One thought on “Report from Berkeley: UC graduate students plan statewide strike.

  1. The Tallahassee, Florida area IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) group strongly supports our fellow sisters and brothers in demanding economic justice! Solidarity forever!

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