BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) – Over 35,000 University of California student workers voted and overwhelmingly approved to authorize a strike.

If a deal isn’t reached with the university system then we will see UC employees on the picket line.

Workers are demanding their compensation keep up with the high cost of living in California.

The UC student workers union represents employees that teach and research at 10 campuses.

Academic workers perform the majority of teaching at UC schools, grade papers, and perform research. The union claims members generate $8 billion for the UC.

At the bargaining table, union workers are asking for salary increases, free public transit passes, and childcare reimbursements, amongst other things.

According to the union, the UC’s proposals have not even come close to meeting in the middle.

The president of the UAW [UC Academic Workers] Local No. 5810 said the UC has left them no choice but to escalate their campaigns. In a statement, Neal Sweeney continued to say, in part, “rather than coming to fair agreements, the university has engaged in a wide variety of unlawful tactics. The UAW locals at uc have been forced to file more than 20 unfair labor practices.”

The president claimed UC negotiators have refused to provide information needed to bargain.

The UC declined a KRON4 News interview request, but issued the following statement:

“The University of California is currently in contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers (UAW) regarding four separate academic bargaining units: Postdoctoral Scholars, Academic Researchers, Academic Student Employees (teaching assistants/readers/tutors), and Graduate Student Researchers.

“Our primary goal in these negotiations is achieving multiyear agreements that recognize these employees’ important and highly valued contributions to the University’s teaching and research mission with fair pay, quality health and family-friendly benefits, and a supportive and respectful work environment.

“The University has provided fair responses to UAW on priority issues of concern to all four bargaining units, including in areas of fair pay, a respectful work environment, and housing. You may find more information on the offers provided to each bargaining unit in the attached fact sheet.

“We have listened carefully to UAW priorities with an open mind and a genuine willingness to compromise. Negotiations are progressing, and many tentative agreements have been reached on key issues such as a respectful work environment and health and safety matters. We are committed to continuing to negotiate in good faith and reaching full agreements as soon as possible.”