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The University of California, Santa Cruz’s ongoing graduate employee strike over a requested cost of living adjustment spread to two more campuses Thursday. Graduate assistants at California's Davis campus initiated a grade strike over their own COLA request, and graduate assistants at the Santa Barbara campus started a labor strike. Assistants in Santa Barbara -- one of the nation’s most expensive housing markets -- are seeking $1,807 extra per month, which they say would bring them out of severe rent burden, or having to devote half or more of their stipends to rent. Students at Davis are seeking $1,553 extra per month.

The university system says that students are striking in violation of their union contract, negotiated to include fair pay and benefits with the help of the United Auto Workers. The UAW has not authorized the strikes but has encouraged the university to negotiate COLAs. Teaching assistants at Santa Cruz who participated in a fall grade strike and still have not turned in undergraduate grades are at risk of losing their spring appointments.