The following letter was written by a group of Ethnic Studies graduate students at UC. We are thrilled to announce that they unanimously decided to endorse a no vote on the bullshit contract that the UAW 2865 leadership is trying to push through. One of our favorite aspects of this letter is their emphasis not just on wages and cost of living — though of course this is important — but on the no vote process itself:
A successfully organized “no” vote would be a great show of strength from the progressive membership of the union
Precisely. This is not just about wages, but about building rank-and-file power in a union commandeered by a closed clique of careerist bureaucrats. Next time someone from the e-board criticizes you for asking for an extra $18/month, let them know that this isn’t just about the money. This is about removing them from power and taking back our union! All power to the rank-and-file!
Solidarity with our comrades in Ethnic Studies as they fight back against so-called Operational Excellence! Defend Ethnic Studies!
On Tuesday November 16th, the majority of the UAW 2865 Bargaining Team
reached a tentative agreement with the UC raising the total amount of
childcare expenses ASEs (Academic Student Employees) can claim for
reimbursement, resolving the language surrounding fee remissions, and
securing partial remission of ASE nonresident tuition, yet there was
no progress on wages. Given these circumstances, the Ethnic Studies
Graduate Student Alliance voted on whether to endorse a “NO” position
on the upcoming ratification vote, and all those present unanimously
agreed that we as a body are opposed to the UAW’s tentative agreement.
The Alliance’s stance is in agreement with the sentiment expressed in
the resolution reached by a contingent of African Diasporic Studies
and Ethnic Studies graduate students at an earlier meeting. Below are
three brief and underlying reasons we are opposed to the tentative
agreement and endorse a NO vote:
1) The high cost of living in California deems ASE wages incapable
of offsetting inflation.
2) A successfully organized “no” vote would be a great show of
strength from the progressive membership of the union and put the
bargaining team on a much stronger footing during negotiations.
3) Even if you are not currently an ASE, the contract that is
ultimately agreed upon will be the one you work under should you
become an ASE in the next three years
Risks involved with this strategy include: prolonging the negotiation
process, especially given the upcoming holidays and potentially losing
concessions originally won from the UC. However, the UC would be
forced to recognize that their lack of concessions on the vital issues
of wages and cost of living is unacceptable to their graduate students
and respond accordingly.
Voting will take place between Nov. 29 and Dec. 3 at polling stations
on all campuses of the UC system.
Given the direct bearing that this contract will have on the daily
lives of ASEs, it is important that all grad students vote in the
upcoming ratification. For those who are not yet formally enrolled as
members in Local 2865 you are free to do so at the polls even if you
are not currently an ASE.
Michael Schulze-Oechtering Castaneda, Rob Connell, Ziza Delgado, Kevin
Escudero, Maria Faini, Marcelo Garzo, Jorge Gonzalez, Ariko Ikehara,
Kim McNair, Abraham Ramirez, Gabriela Spears-Rico, Kim Tran, Amy