Striking California Grad Students Speak Out on Nation’s Largest-Ever Higher Education Strike

Democracy Now! – Nov 30, 2022

The largest higher education strike in U.S. history has entered its third week in an effort to secure livable wages, more child care benefits, expanded family leave and other demands. Some 48,000 academic workers at all 10 University of California campuses are on strike, including teaching assistants, postdoctoral scholars, graduate student researchers, tutors and fellows. We speak with a professor and graduate students at three campuses in the UC system, as a tentative deal with postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers was announced Tuesday by the University of California that does not cover graduate student employees who make up the vast majority of those on strike. “We are the ones who are producing the work. We’re teaching the classrooms. And yet, most of these student workers qualify for food stamps,” says UCLA doctoral student and local union head Enrique Olivares Pesante. UC Davis student researcher Aarthi Sekar describes how international graduate students have also been impacted. We also speak with Nelson Lichtenstein, director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy at UC Santa Barbara.

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