UC avoided one big strike, but more are in the works at CA colleges

Workers at California’s universities are frustrated. Days after the UC leaders reached a contract with its lecturers in mid-November, two more of its unions authorized a strike. CSU faculty is at an “impasse” in its negotiation with the system for a new contract.

Resident assistants at the USC and Stanford, two of CA’s top private colleges, have gone on strike or plan to do so. Altogether, those groups make up some 50,000 CA’s higher education workers. Labor actions in CA’s higher education aren’t unusual.

A union representing the UC’s service and patient care employees alone has gone on strikes six times between 2017 and 2019. Unions also call off many strikes at the last minute, just like the case with the UC’s lecturers last month. But collectively the number of higher education workers considering strikes is among the highest CA has seen in years. The figure represents workers’ dissatisfaction, but also the growing power of organized labor in higher education, union leaders and experts said.

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