Fw: UC Strike Authorization (fwd)
Frances Bolton (PHI)
fbolton at chuma.cas.usf.edu
Tue Jul 14 07:13:22 PDT 1998
> Academic Student Employees Turn out in Massive Numbers to
> Authorize System-wide Strike at UC
> June 4, 1998 -- In balloting that ended Wednesday, members of
> academic student employee unions throughout the University of
> California voted by an 87% landslide to authorize a system-wide
> strike next fall if the administration does not recognize the
> unions and agree to begin collective bargaining with teaching
> assistants, readers and tutors.
> More than twice as many academic student employees (ASEs) took
> part in the balloting as in any previous strike authorization.
> Some 4,221 members of academic student employee unions affiliated
> with the United Auto Workers (UAW) took part in the vote. There
> are a total of about 7,500 academic student employees on the seven
> UC campuses where balloting took place.
> Votes were held at the Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Los
> Angeles, Riverside, Irvine and San Diego campuses of the UC. AGSE/
> UAW members at UC Davis expect to hold a strike authorization vote
> in the coming months.
> Union activists emphasized the strength demonstrated by the large
> strike vote. "This strike will be much larger and significantly
> more disruptive than any action we have taken before," said Ted
> Levine, of the Coalition of Academic Student Employees (CASE/UAW -
> Riverside). "But our demand is the same: recognition of our col-
> lective bargaining rights."
> The vote authorizes the leadership of each campus union to call a
> strike next fall, if the university administration does not recog-
> nize the unions, but it does not make a strike inevitable.
> "We have exercised great restraint," said Ricardo Ochoa, President
> of the Association of Graduate Student Employees (AGSE/UAW - Berkeley).
> "We have tried to meet with campus chancellors; over 5000 of our mem-
> bers sent letters to state and federal legislatures; we have employed
> short rolling strikes in order to avoid a serious disruption of under-
> graduate education. But the university has so far refused to budge."
> The California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) has verified
> that a majority of the 9,000 ASEs on all UC campuses have selected
> UAW-affiliated unions to represent them in collective bargaining.
> And PERB has said that the University administration may grant
> recognition to the unions at any time. The UC's denial of collec-
> tive bargaining rights led to 25 days of strikes on 5 UC campuses
> during the 1996-97 school year. The University administration has
> engaged in 14 years of litigation at PERB, costing millions of
> taxpayer dollars.
> The ASE unions have been winning on the legal front, despite the UC's
> extravagant use of lawyers and public money. The PERB board, the final
> level of appeal, on April 24 upheld an earlier ruling that teaching
> associates, readers and tutors at UC San Diego are employees and are
> entitled to collective bargaining rights under the Higher Education
> Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA).
> As a result, PERB ordered an election to take place June 3 and 4
> at UC San Diego to determine whether the Association of Student
> Employees (ASE/UAW - San Diego) will be certified as the workers'
> collective bargaining agent.
> "The PERB decision was great news," said Anthony Navarette, spokes-
> person for ASE/UAW - San Diego. "But we have never relied entirely
> on the legal system to guarantee our rights. We have always concen-
> trated on winning recognition by building on the power of our member-
> ship with protests, letter-writing campaigns, and strikes."
> The university administration vindicated the unions' strategy of
> not relying on judicial avenues alone when it announced in a legal
> filing last month that it would refuse to abide by the legally-
> mandated election if ASE/UAW is certified. The UC San Diego admin-
> istration said that even if academic student employees voted in favor
> of representation by ASE/UAW, it would refuse to bargain collectively,
> as it would be required to do under HEERA.
> "The University administration has announced that they will break
> the law in order to keep academic student employees from exercising
> our rights," said David Kamper, an activist with the Student Associ-
> ation of Graduate Employees (SAGE/UAW - Los Angeles). "But, the
> University of California works because we do. If the administration
> continues to refuse to recognize us, we'll have to show them what
> that means."
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