Academic workers at the University of California have voted to ratify new contracts, ending a six-week strike that greatly disrupted the 10-campus system at the end of its fall term.
Two separate bargaining units represented by United Auto Workers each approved the contracts, which were tentatively agreed to earlier this month. UAW 2865 — which represents teaching assistants, tutors, graders and readers — voted 11,386 to 7,097 in favor of the contracts. The vote for SRU-UAW, which represents student researchers, was 10,057 to 4,640.
With the the contracts approved, the workers will return next month after the system’s winter break ends.
Under the new contract, starting pay for teaching assistants will increase from $23,000 to $34,000 by October 2024. For graduate student researchers, the minimum pay by that point will be $34,564.50.
“The dramatic improvements to our salaries and working conditions are the result of tens of thousands of workers striking together in unity,” Rafael Jaime, president of UAW 2865, said in a statement. “These agreements redefine what is possible in terms of how universities support their workers, who are the backbone of their research and education enterprise.”
Letitia Silas, UC’s executive director of systemwide labor relations, said in a statement that the contract ratification “demonstrates yet again the University’s strong commitment to providing every one of our hardworking employees with competitive compensation and benefit packages that honor their many contributions to our institution, to our community, and to the state of California.”