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UC Santa Cruz Reinstates 41 Fired Grad Students

August 12, 2020
 
 

The University of California, Santa Cruz, has reinstated 41 graduate student workers after firing them in March during a wildcat strike.

In December of 2019, 233 graduate student teaching assistants and instructors at UCSC declined to turn in fall grades for their students. That wildcat strike (meaning unauthorized by the student's union affiliate, the United Auto Workers) expanded to other campuses in the UC system and in some cases became a teaching and research strike. Students demanded an increase in stipend or cost-of-living adjustment, saying they were overburdened by rent due to a lack of affordable housing in California.

UCSC eventually gave strikers an ultimatum, saying they could turn in their fall grades or be fired from their teaching assignments. In early March, the university followed through with the threat and fired more than 70 graduate students who had not turned in grades.

The reinstatement of 41 graduate students is a result of a settlement between the university and the graduate worker's union, UAW 2865. In July the two parties reached a deal in which the union agreed to drop an unfair labor practice charge with the California Public Employment Relations Board in exchange for providing a path to reinstatement for fired teaching assistants and instructors.

A previous version of this article stated that the union had filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board. The charge was instead filed with the California Public Employment Relations Board. 

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