Strike Press

berkeleystrike

It’s been a great day of picketing, teach-outs, a performance by Danza Azteca, an entire Sociology class that joined our protest! More strike updates will follow later, but for now here’s some press about our strike:

Excellent article from In these Times http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/16509/more_than_20_striking_students_arrested_belying_university_of_californias_e

Coverage of the Berkeley strike on KRON http://news.kron4.com/news/video-striking-u-c-graduate-students-demand-apology/

 

 

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“I have a number for everyone–480″

“A lot of numbers get thrown around in this university…numbers like about salaries, about us being number one public university in this country. But I have a number for everyone–480. In my eight semesters as a GSI at this university, with thirty students per section, two sections per sections per semester I have had 480 students! And I have loved every single one of those students and I am pretty damn sure that they have loved me. So then here’s my question, why strike? “–from Becky’s amazing speech at the rally yesterday

Watch Becky answer this question, and more events from the strike yesterday:

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Assorted Strike News

Tgradschoolofedstrikehanks for a great day on the picket line!

Our comrades at UC Santa Cruz faced police violence this morning as they attempted to lawfully and peacefully picket. Police in riot gear arrested 20 picketers including UCSC graduate student and union leader Josh. In this video you can see Josh being arrested and pushed to the ground as he cries out in pain:

UCSC would not be deterred, and the picket continued! More information about the arrests is here at KSBW and here at the LA Times.

STrikeRallyAt UC Berkeley police filmed and pushed picketers at the West Entrance early in the morning. We continued on, and had a full day of picketing at Bancroft and Telegraph. The noon rally was stirring, despite the fact that the administration turned off the sound system during free speech hour, when our rally was scheduled.

PicketersLunch

 

Afterwards we munched burritos for lunch generously provided by our buddies at AFSCME, who we supported in a solidarity strike against their intimidation back in November.

Daily Cal coverage of the strike at Berkeley: http://www.dailycal.org/2014/04/02/gsis-undergraduates-gather-two-day-strike/

amherstunionToday our strike received statements of solidarity from other graduate student unions, including the Teaching Assistant’s Association at University of Wisconsin-Madison, UAW 2322 at the University of Massachusetts (pictured at left) and organized graduate students at NYU.

 

JOIN US ON THE PICKET LINES TOMORROW, BANCROFT AND TELEGRAPH 8AM TO 6PM!

GoTstrikememe

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Strike Update from Wednesday Morning

Another great video from Nick with an update from the picket lines early Wednesday morning! Picket lines going on until 6pm tonight, then all day tomorrow (Thursday) 8am to 6pm, when student workers across the UCs will be striking. Join us (and eat free bagels)!

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Why We Are Striking: A Letter from Union Members

 WHY WE ARE STRIKING: AN OPEN LETTER TO UC GRAD STUDENTS–This coming week, our union—United Auto Workers Local 2865—has called a system-wide strike in protest of unfair labor practices (ULPs) by the university. Although particular grievances differ from campus to campus, in aggregate, they concern the university’s unwillingness to bargain over key aspects of our employment, including class size and the length of our workweek. Also at issue is the university’s history of illegal intimidation of student workers. For example, this past November, an administrator at UCLA threatened overseas students with the loss of their visas for participating in a sympathy strike—a claim as insulting as it was untrue.

The reasons for striking are serious, but also banal. By any measure, our labor is appallingly undervalued by the managers of the UC, its remuneration calibrated neither to the ballooning costs of living in present-day California nor to the wages of our peers at equivalent out-of-state universities. Nonetheless, many of us persist in believing that, no matter how untenable or degrading, our working conditions can always be tolerated, since they are only temporary, lasting no longer than our apprenticeships. The ideology of grad school rationalizes this deficit as the price of shelter from the “working world,” of which the academy is surely the opposite. Those who do not support the strike will claim that grad students are not workers at all, but rather professionals in the chrysalis stage of a post-laborious life cycle. Labor is the fate of the unlucky, the futureless, the unspecial—of all who fail admittance to the academy, or who find themselves passed over in the competition for grants, honors, and jobs. Today’s strikers, tomorrow’s adjuncts.

The academy has always warmed to such delusions. To exist, universities depend on the extraction of un- and underpaid labor from students and faculty, exploiting a population convinced of its special intelligence and competitive edge. Fear of imposture, of mere adequacy, is the coin of the academic realm. As minter of this coin, the university holds its subjects in a state of blind dependency: students compete for the attention of a shrinking pool of professionals (part-time instructors currently outnumber tenure-track faculty by a ration of four to one), while the latter scurry to commodify the drippings of a hive-mind on the brink of colony collapse. A population that does not recognize itself as working will not mind working harder, longer, and more obediently, whatever the personal cost. For many grad students, the very idea of a contract governing the limits and conditions of our labor is a source of skepticism, and even derision. This system is not an alternative to the working world; it is the model every employer would eagerly adopt. Far from prefiguring an emancipated society, the university offers a foretaste of the total domination of workers by management.

Perhaps our peers are right: perhaps we strikers are the futureless, the luckless, the unspecial. To which we should reply—Yes, and so are you! Of course, logic dictates that some of us will be retained by the academy as its favored prodigies; that some of us will best our peers on a tightening job market; that odds will always (ever) be in someone’s favor. But this is not a logic, not a system, that we could ever willingly endorse. The university profits by our atomization, our disunity; it encourages our delusions of specialness, our faith in anointment and meritocratic providence; it thrives on our belief, against every shred of evidence, that we are not workers. We are striking because we are workers. We are striking, not to withdraw our labor arbitrarily, but so that we can find each other outside the walls of the academy. We are striking so that we do not to end up like the fortunate ones.

There are no fair labor practices in the academy or anywhere else; there are only the gains we win for ourselves, together, fighting.

Signed,

Some strikers, some friends

This letter was written by union members, and originally published here.

 

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Strike Schedule April 2 + 3

Wondering how to participate in the strike this week? Here’s the full schedule: Strike Schedule Importantly, only departments who were represented at our strike forum are listed on the schedule. If your department is among those not listed, you should join your favorite departments and come out when you can :)

 

 

 

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Strike Video!

A video about our strike this week (April 2 and 3)! Please share, and thanks Nick Singh Randhawa for creating this awesome video!

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