As public support for organized labor has been shown to be effective even outside academia reached a 50-year highThis year, unions used their bargaining powers to push for changes at high-profile companies like Amazon and Starbucks.
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Voos however stated that the universities’ strength in labor negotiations is due to the large number of graduate students. “The students are vulnerable because they need recommendations from professors, they’re afraid for their future, the academic labor market is not very good right now,” She said.
Conversely, the bleak prospects in academia may be contributing to graduate students’ determination to secure better working conditions now, Voos said. “Sacrificing now for tomorrow may not be such a great idea,” She said.
U.C. Jack Schrott (a graduate student in physics) said Monday at Berkeley that he hoped that successful negotiations would result in improved conditions for academic staff across the country.
“The U.C. is an enormous producer of academic research and sets an example for the types of wages that academic workers earn,” Schrott, 26, said. “It won’t be possible for us to support research at our universities if this industry doesn’t elevate the wages of its workers.”
In a statement, the university system said that it recognized the workers’ “important and highly valued contributions” to its research and teaching mission, as well as the support it had provided “fair responses” On issues like housing, pay, and a “respectful work environment.”
Monday afternoon, U.C. announced that it had offered to bring in a neutral mediator into the negotiations. Academic employees “would be among the top of the pay scale” These universities are public research universities. “more comparable to private universities” Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Southern California are just a few examples.