A one-day strike has planned by the union of academic employees, UPTE, throughout the whole UC System. The CUE has declared a sympathy strike, and many other groups including graduate and undergraduate students are planning class walkouts. All on the first day of the 2009-2010 school year, September 24, 2009.
What is happening on September 24, 2009?
- Professors and instructors:
- The University Professional and Technical Employees union (UPTE) called the one-day strike, and many faculty have chosen to support it.
- UC faculty have organized a faculty walkout in support of students and staff, and in defense of public education in California.
- Graduate students:
- UC graduate students have organized a grad student walkout in support of faculty, students, and staff, and in defense of public education in California.
- Graduate students covered by the UAW contract (teaching assistance) can choose to walkout in sympathy without fear of repercussions. Grad student researchers are not necessarily covered by this agreement. See the 9/24 Walkout page on GSA's site for more information.
- Undergraduate students:
- UC undergraduate students have organized a undergrad student walkout in support of faculty, students, and staff, and in defense of public education in California
- The UC Student Association (UCSA), representing every campus except Davis ASUCD/GSA and the UCLA Graduate Student Association, unanimously passed a resolution supporting the walkout, and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) also endorsed the walkout.
- Please be kind if you see a freshman in need. Get him to buy some bike fenders on his day off classes. :)
- University Staff
- The Coalition of University Employees CUE, which primarily represents university administrators, recently voted to sympathy strike in support of the UPTE strike.
Why are the strike and walkout happening?
The UPTE strike is was organized as a response to perceived unfair labor practices and the university's failure to bargain in good faith. For further details, see UPTE's strike FAQ.
From the faculty walkout statement:
Under the cover of the summer months, UC administration has pushed through a program of tuition hikes, enrollment cuts, layoffs, furloughs, and increased class sizes that harms students and jeopardizes the livelihoods of the most vulnerable university employees. These decisions fundamentally compromise the mission of the University of California. They are complicit with the privatization of public education, and they have been made in a manner that flouts the principle of shared governance at the core of the UC faculty's capacity to guide the future of the University in accordance with its mission.
The primary demands set forth in the walkout statements from faculty and students include:
- No furloughs or paycuts for employees making under $40,000.
- The immediate institution of the Academic Senate Council's July 29 recommendation regarding the implementation of furloughs. (For background on this, see UCSB professor Chris Newfield's analysis.)
- A complete rollback of student fees to 2008-2009 levels, and no new fee increases beyond the rate of inflation.
- Full disclosure of the UC budget.
UCD's Official Response
‘When UC decided that faculty furlough days could not be taken on instructional days, it was thinking of students. Even in this financial crisis, the university wants to do everything it can to ensure that you continue to receive a world-class education.’ — Chancellor Linda Katehi
For more information on the the official response from UCDavis, visit UCD's News & Information Page".
How does this particularly affect students and faculty?
How will budget cuts affect students and faculty in the sciences?
- increased tuition — Tuition fees may increase over 30% for undergrads and as much as 15% for grad students by Fall 2010. UC President Yudof has also proposed additional tuition increases for undergrads majoring in business and engineering and for grad students in the medical and law schools.
- limited lab budgets — Our PIs will be forced to cover the extra expense of increased tuition. And, if our labs are already strapped for cash, grad students will need to find additional positions to cover educational costs.
- fewer funding opportunities — Yet, as budgets are slashed, as faculty are released, and as enrollment drops (due to tuition increases), grad students will find fewer opportunities for lab assistantships and teaching appointments. At the same time, the competition for even scarcer state funding will only intensify.
- no support for basic research — As the government gives less and less money to the UCs, our labs and projects will depend more and more on funding from private companies. If industries are only interested in application-based research, what will happen to basic science research at the UCs?
- reduction in postdoc positions — This will lead to less classes being taught in a timely manner, and less opportunities for graduate students.
What are possible outcomes of the strike?
- Nothing happens. Armageddon cuts and fiscal chaos1 will reign.
- The UPTE wins minor concessions, but are still essentially pwned by the budget. Students will see less academic services and less value from their educational experience.
The union wins major concessions. To pay for it, the UC:
Gets more money from the state... Reduces administrator pay to a measly $200,000 annually plus benefitsIncreases student fees yet again.
- News articles detailing the proposed tuition increases of over 30% over the next year, from the SF Chronicle and LA Times.
- Discussion of why the recent administrative actions matter for UC students, in Berkeley professor Catherine Cole's letter to students.
- Overview of California and UC budget history by UCSF professor and former chair of the UC Committee on Planning and Budget, Stanton Glantz.
- Plenty of other informational links from the grad student walkout site.
- "It Used to be Free" — basic Q&A on the UC budget crisis.
- webcast presentations by Berkeley faculty from all sectors of campus, on the budget crisis, shared governance, history of California public education, student fee increases, and more.
- Blog Remaking the University for extensive information on all budget issues and where you can find a link to the UC Davis Organizing Committee's facebook
- Letter Is there really a budget crisis? requesting budget transparency
- The Graduate Student Association has some info on the UC Budget.
1. quote: Arnold Schwarzenneger