UC Davis teaching assistants join strike over graduate pay

February 28, 2020 GMT

DAVIS, Calif. (AP) — Graduate students at the University of California, Davis were joining UC Santa Cruz graduate students Thursday in a strike to demand higher wages as teaching assistants.

Participating graduate students also plan to withhold students’ grades for winter quarter until UC Davis increases its housing supplement for graduate students who work as teaching assistants, the Sacramento Bee reported.

The students said in a statement that the wildcat strike is intended to “disrupt the everyday functioning of the university.” The strike is a wildcat strike because it is not endorsed by the union that represents graduate teaching assistants, who are working under an existing contract.

UC officials said their four-year contract with the UAW includes fair pay that increases 3 percent over four years, benefits and $3,300 in child care per year.

At least 17 people were arrested when the UC Santa Cruz strike began two weeks ago. As part of their strike, about 85 graduate students are withholding fall quarter grades and have been threatened with the loss of their jobs. This week, UC agreed to pay a $2,500 stipend to students after the strike, but graduate students said the promise is not legally enforceable.

UC Santa Barbara graduate students are also beginning a full teaching strike Thursday, the newspaper reported.

As part of the strike, the graduate students won’t teach, hold office hours, do research or grade their students.