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APALA Members Picket in Solidarity with Striking University of California Academic Workers
This week, Academic Workers at the University of California (UC) represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) went on strike for higher wages and increased child-care benefits. After a year of negotiations and being unable to reach an agreement, 97% of academic workers across the UC system voted to authorize an unfair labor practice strike. This strike is the largest group of employees on strike this year and the largest strike ever at a higher education institution.
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) urges management at UC to meet with workers at the table, bargain in good faith, and offer a comprehensive living wage package. Academic workers are the backbone of the massive UC system, and campuses and workers are significantly underpaid, especially given the rising cost of living. For example, teaching assistants at the University of California Los Angeles earn an average wage of $24,000 a year, while the median rent in the area is more than $36,000 a year (according to realtor.com).
APALA National Executive Board Members and leaders will join workers at the UCLA picket line on Friday, November 18th, 2022, and will continue to support the UAW workers in the fight ahead.
Alex Mabanta, UAW Local 2865 and Young Workers Vice-President of APALA, said, "Academic workers on all 10 UC campuses live and work in some of the most expensive cities in California and, adjusted for an hourly wage, are paid subminimum wages. Our campaign fights for a living wage, childcare, and healthcare for dependents, public transit passes, and better accessibility for workers with disabilities. Amid skyrocketing rents, living costs, and inflation, we know our strike advances collective liberation: economic justice is racial justice is climate justice is disability justice is housing justice. We are fighting to transform how academic workers are valued comprehensively. Together, we are 48,000 strong. We teach classes, grade papers, and perform cutting-edge research. By mobilizing the largest higher education strike in American history, we are shaping how fair contracts empower academic workers across California and beyond."
Sandra Engle (UAW), APALA National Executive Board Secretary, said, “APALA is ready to stand in solidarity with all UC Academic Workers on strike for better pay. UAW members are leading the largest strike in the U.S. since 2019 and are blazing a path ahead for academic workers across the country. Workers have the power and are ready to put it on the line for economic and racial justice.”
For more information about the Strike or to find a picket at a campus near you: https://www.fairucnow.org/picket/
Founded in 1992, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO, is the first and only national organization of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) workers, most of whom are union members and our allies, building power for AAPI workers and communities.