(KRON) — Last December, thousands of University of California academic researchers and teaching assistants were among those to receive significant pay hikes after going on strike.
Now some fear they may lose their jobs because the university doesn’t have enough money to cover the cost of the pay hike. In November, some 48,000 University of California post-docs, academic researchers, teaching assistants, graduate student instructors and researchers went on strike, seeking better wages, and benefits.
Big pay raises followed, and an agreement was reached, but now some are concerned they may be out of a job because the university will have to hire fewer teaching assistants and researchers to cover the cost of the pay hikes.
The University would not go on camera, but said in a statement “the Office of the President has not provided any guidance to campuses instructing them to reduce student enrollment in the upcoming budget…So it would be premature to speculate on any impacts on enrollment.” But academic workers maintain the process is already underway.
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Departments have informed workers that they will not admit as many graduate Ph.D.s in the future starting in the fall, reducing it via third. We’ve also heard that they reduce the amount of teaching assistant positions throughout the UC by 20 to 30%.
In the meantime, academic workers have also been told if they were paid for days they were out of the lab or classroom, and on the picket line, the university will not take that money back to comply with state and federal regulations.
The union representing those workers has no issue with that, but says the university is not conducting the process properly “we believe that university must first give workers the chance to see how much they’re going to be docked retroactively. Workers must have an opportunity contest the amount they must’ve given opportunities to figure out what is the best process for them to pay them back. So giving them different options. And workers therefore have to consent to all this.”
The University says it is still in the information-gathering phase and will work to ensure the process is done in the best way possible, but the union has already filed an unfair labor practice charge.