SAN DIEGO — The University of California reached a tentative deal for its postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers, however, the strike continues with tens of thousands of graduate students still on strike.
Student employees on strike have said that the post-doctoral tentative deal is a good accomplishment. Now graduate employees say they want the same attention in order to be able to afford to live.
“It’s tiring to be on strike, but I feel we have a lot of energy because we need these things we are asking for,” said Wren Gardiner, a visual arts graduate student and teaching assistant.
Gardiner and her colleagues have started a fundraiser for the Visual Arts Department’s academic employees’ monthly expenses during the strike when pay is limited. Click here to be directed to the donation site.
Tens of thousands of University of California graduate and undergraduate academic student employees, tutors, researchers and teaching assistants are entering their third week of striking for better pay and benefits.
“We are still waiting for a very serious offer from UC San Diego,” said Sander Tonken, a UCSD second year doctoral candidate studying mechanical aerospace engineer and graduate researcher.
Tonken said he gets paid $34,000 a year, with 50% of his salary going to rent. Tonken said he works on different research projects with his advisor, putting in up to 50 hours a week on top of his own course work.
Tonken said, “I feel like I really need to think about where I do my groceries and what I buy in terms of groceries, and purely that brain power would be in the university’s interest that I use that brain power in a different way to further my research.”
“Academic workers need to be treated fairly It’s not just graduate students, its everyone involved, including undergraduate,” said Jayden Wood, an undergraduate mechanical engineering student who’s also a tutor and member of the local UAW on strike.
Being on the picket lines and not working, Wood said, is the sacrifice to make for a better education.
Wood said, “It’s been really hard before, grades come late before because they are working overtime. It’s not fair the current system that is set up, there have been issues with my previous classes.”
The UC system has reached a tentative deal with its post graduate scholars and researchers, including salary increases and child care reimbursement. Click here to read the University of California’s statement on the tentative deal.
It paves a path to focus on the remaining student academic employees.
“We all really want to cross that finish line, together so we are hoping the university can bring forward a package that responds to what grad workers need,” said Adam Caparco, a post graduate nano engineering scholar at UCSD.