More than 11,000 graduate student workers across the University of California System have reached a tentative four-year contract agreement between their union, the UC Student-Worker Union/United Auto Workers 2865, and the university, they announced Wednesday. Negotiations lasted a year, through two strikes and additional threats of strike, including a pending one that appears to have been averted with the deal. Graduate student workers announced earlier this year they had successfully bargained for language ensuring access to adequate lactation stations and gender-neutral bathrooms, but there were outstanding issues.
According to details of the contract released by the union, graduate student workers have negotiated for language ensuring mechanisms for feedback about workload intensity, as well as access for undocumented students to the same professional options available to all graduate students. Wages will increase about 16 percent spanning four years and the childcare subsidy is up from $600 per quarter to $900, with an increase in the maximum age of eligible children. Paid parental leave also is up for birth parents from four weeks to six weeks. In a statement, the union said it had reached “new terrain” for labor unions generally with the contract, including the provisions for undocumented students and gender-neutral bathrooms. The union, which is currently working off of an expired contract, plans on a vote to ratify the new contract within the next few weeks. In a statement, Dwaine B. Duckett, system vice president of human resources, said that both said "worked hard, and we’re pleased to have reached this tentative agreement." He added: “We’re even more pleased that our students will finish the school year without any more unnecessary disruptions, and will have the valued assistance of our academic student employees.”