Postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers on Tuesday reached a tentative labor agreement with the University of California but will remain on strike in solidarity with thousands of graduate student workers at all 10 of the university system’s campuses.
The union representing the scholars and researchers hailed the deal as a major victory and said it would provide “substantial wage increases that address cost of living.”
In addition to pay hikes of up to 29%, the agreement would provide increased family leave, childcare subsidies and lengthened appointments to ensure job security, according to a statement from United Auto Workers Local 5810.
The agreement must be ratified in a vote by members.
Letitia Silas, executive director of UC’s labor relations, said the university system was pleased to have reached a deal that honors the workers’ contributions.
“These agreements also uphold our tradition of supporting these employees with compensation and benefits packages that are among the best in the country,” Silas said in a statement.
The postdoctoral employees and academic researchers make up about 12,000 of the 48,000 union members who walked off the job and onto picket lines three weeks ago. About 36,000 graduate student teaching assistants, tutors and researchers are bargaining separately and remain on strike, calling for increased pay and benefits.
Union leaders have said the strike could be the largest work stoppage the prestigious public university system has ever faced.
The academic workers say with their current salaries they can’t afford to live in cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego and Berkeley, where housing costs are soaring.
Organizers from the United Auto Workers, which represents the employees involved, have said there is no end date for the strike.