Happy Hour & Membership Meeting

labor-day-2Union Welcome + Welcome Back Labor Day Happy Hour 3 to 5pm at Jupiter…with free beer!

 Join us for a happy hour on Monday September 1st—Labor Day—at Jupiter Beer and Pizza (2181 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, one block from campus)! This happy hour is intended to welcome back graduate students who have been gone for the summer, as well as incoming graduate students, who can drink a nice cold one while they learn about the our union.

September Membership Meeting, Tuesday, September 2nd 5:30pm to 7pm at the Union Office, 2070 Allston Way (Suite 205)

Our first membership meeting of the semester! Come find out about the awesome new contract that we just won, and discuss our organizing plans for the year. New members welcome! The union office is just a couple blocks from campus.

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Summer Organizing Meeting

summer_catsNow that we’ve settled our contract (formal announcement forthcoming!), it’s time to turn our sights to summer organizing!
Join us for our first summer organizing this upcoming Tuesday (June 10th) from 4 to 5:30 in the union office (2070 Allston Way, Suite 205). We’ll be talking about what projects we’d like to take on this summer including walk throughs, coalition work, and preparing for new member orientations in the fall. Bring your fresh ideas and laid-back summer vibes!
Hope to see you there!

 

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Support UC Village Residents’ Opposition to a Devastating Rent Hike

Please click to sign this petition and support the residents of UC Berkeley’s Student Family Housing located at UC Village as they object to an unjust 3% rent increase planned to begin in July.  Tell Residential and Student Services Programs (RSSP) that it is morally reprehensible to balance their budget on the backs of this vulnerable low income population.

Under the planned 3% increases, rents would range from $1,337 to $2,059.  This is not sustainable for student families who are predominantly low income. Last year, a survey conducted by the Village Resident’s Association (VRA) found that 70% of families survive on less than a living wage, with 45% reliant on food assistance.

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Graduate Students Hold Sleepover in Contested Stephens Workspace!

imageAfter the grade-in on Thursday, a number of graduate students staged a sleepover at Stephens Lounge to protest the closure of the space. For more information read the article in the Berkeley Graduate, or the press release below:

Graduate Students Hold Sleepover in Contested Stephens Workspace

Students protesting the closure of beloved workspace stage a sleepover calling on the UC to uphold quality study and workspace on campus

On Thursday, May 15th more than 20 students gathered in Stephens Hall’s Graduate Student Lounge and stayed through the night in solidarity with the threatened campus work space. The “sleepover” culminated weeks of actions to halt the permanent closure after UC Dean Andrew Szeri announced that the 90-year old room would on May 16th close its doors forever as a study space. The sleepover celebrated the campus administration’s concession to postpone the closure of Stephens Lounge by another 6 months, but also advanced student demands that the administration keep the space open until a substitute is found.

Students spent the night grading exams, writing papers, reading and discussing ongoing struggles by students and other campus and community groups. The sleepover followed a day-long “grade-in” sponsored by the student-worker’s union (UAW Local 2865) that included coalition building between Stephens defenders, student-workers, other UC labor unions, organizers with Gill Tract Farm preservation, and University Village residents fighting for fair family housing.

Some students brought sleeping bags and air mattresses to rest in the beloved space, while others worked into the early morning together. Students made clear that the stakes of the action were more than room’s unique features—high ceilings, Victorian charm, and access coffee and food. The student-run space is an important workplace resource for graduate students on an overcrowded campus with highly unequal access to space across departments.

“Graduate students work long hours just like anyone else. They need a place that provides basics of any workplace, like the ability to eat.” said Sarah Cowan, a graduate student in the History of Art Department. “The Stephens Lounge is the only place on campus that does.”

In proposing to close the Lounge unilaterally and without transparency, the UC administration claimed the space was underutilized, and also cited its inaccessibility to students with disabilities. Defenders of the space confirmed that dozens of graduate student visitors each day, and that more than 640 UC students, faculty, staff and alumni had signed a petition demanding it not be closed. Those demands have been endorsed by the UAW and UC Berkeley’s graduate student government. Moreover, sleepover attendees agreed that if UC is committed to inclusive education, it is the administration’s obligation to make the space accessible to all graduate students or to find an adequate alternative that is.

“I value the space for so many reasons, like getting to work alongside colleagues in other departments,” says Margaret Mary Downey, a graduate student in the School of Social Welfare. I think it sets a dangerous precedent for the administration to act without student input on issues like this that directly impact our working and learning conditions.”

The threat to the Stephens Lounge represents a trend at UC Berkeley and other public institutions to restrict and privatize access to cherished, well-used spaces. Students trying to save Stephens Lounge planned to organize in the coming months in conjunction with the UAW’s struggle to gain respect for student labor, the work of Students for Engaged and Active Learning (SEAL) to protect the Gill Tract public farm land from privatization at the expense of the health and wellness of student families and their children, and the University Village families fighting for fair housing rights and affordability.

For more information please contact Ianna Owen (570-977-0487; io@berkeley.edu) or Alex Roehrkasse (530-320-8220; roehrkasse@berkeley.edu).

 

 

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Grade-In at Stephens on Thursday!

stack-of-papersThis Thursday (May 15th), work alongside other GSIs, take a selfie with your mountain of ungraded papers, and help us win a contract with higher wages and class size protections!

Bring all of your grading to the graduate student workspace at Stephens Lounge at 440 Stephens Hall during open hours (9am to 7pm). We’ll photograph graduate students laboring behind their mountains of papers, and post the images online to draw attention to the important work we do as GSIs.

If you’re not able to make it to Stephens, take a photo of yourself wherever you’re working and post it on the Grade-In event on the Berkeley Union facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1402968566654187/.

In addition, from 12 noon to 1pm, we invite you to participate in a Lunch Break Conversation on the grass outside of Stephens. The union, the group organizing group to keep Stephens Lounge open, and other groups on campus working for an accessible and supportive university will share our ongoing struggles.

See you at the grade-in! Thirty cent cookies for all!

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Triennial Election Results

Thank you to everyone who voted, worked at the polling stations, and ran for positions! Here is the official email from the elections committee announcing the election results:

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Dear UAW 2865 Members at Berkeley:

We are pleased to announce that the following officers have been elected to serve on the Executive Board and Joint Council of our union:

Berkeley Joint Council:
* Unit Chair: Krista L. Cortes
* Recording Secretary: Robbie Nelson
* Head Stewards: Jonathan Smucker, Meredith A. Palmer, Emma Silverman, Marianne Kaletzky, Francisco “Paco” Martin del Campo, Evan Bissell, César Bowley Castillo, Joanne Tien, Seth Leibson, Margaret Mary Downey, James Morton, Daniel Woo, Blanca Gamez-Djokic

Statewide Executive Board:
* President: Michelle Glowa
* Northern Vice President: Mar Velez
* Southern Vice President: Ren-yo Hwang
* Financial Secretary: Erik Green
* Recording Secretary: Leslie Quintanilla
* Sergeant-at-Arms: Asad Haider
* Guide: Katy Fox-Hodess
* Trustees: Beezer de Martelly, Susan Richardson, Henry Maar

More detailed results are available at uaw2865.org/2014triennial/results.  The Elections Committee is in the process of compiling the full Election Report, which will be posted to the website shortly.

Congratulations to our newly elected officers!

In solidarity,

UAW 2865 Elections Committee

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Vote TODAY AND TOMORROW for the future of the union!

A Triennial Election for our Local is held every three years, and this year the dates are Tuesday April 29th and Wednesday April 30th. Elections are being held for all Executive Board and Joint Council positions, meaning that all positions at the campus and statewide level will be voted on!

Read The Berkeley Graduate’s coverage of the election: http://www.theberkeleygraduate.com/2014/04/elections/

At Berkeley this is a contested election, meaning that more than one candidate is running for each position. Candidates are running on two slates–AWDU (Academic Workers for a Democratic Union) and SWITCh (Student Workers for Inclusive Transparent Change).

You can read all candidate statements here.

Polling locations and times at our campus are:
4/29, 10am-6pm, Sather Gate
4/29, 11am-3pm, VLSB, Outside South Entrance
4/29, 1pm-5pm, Kroeber Hall, Outside East Entrance
4/30, 10am-6pm, Sather Gate
4/30, 11am-3pm, Evans Hall, Outside East Entrance
4/30, 1pm-5pm, Tolman Hall, Outside Near Breezeway

Please come out and vote–this is your opportunity to affect the future of our union! Only members can vote, but you can sign up to be a member at the polling station.

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