UC and union set to negotiate for sixth straight day as 48,000 remain on strike

LOS ANGELES — A sixth consecutive day of negotiations is scheduled Wednesday in the effort to end the strike by University of California teaching assistants, graduate student instructors, tutors and readers.

Negotiators for the UAW Local 2865 and the university system on Tuesday discussed benefits related to green transit, according to local president Rafael Jaime. The union has proposed public transit passes, subsidies for the use and purchase of bikes and e-bikes, and other incentives for the use of alternative transportation, Jaime said.

University negotiators said they are still discussing e-bike discounts with their vendors and would “make efforts” to establish transit passes, according to Jaime. The union proposed a compromise in the hope of reaching an agreement, Jaime said.

“The university continues to negotiate with flexibility and an open mind,” Ryan King, associate director of media relations, University of California Office of the President, said in a statement.

The university has proposed to the union “enlisting the assistance of a neutral private mediator so that we can achieve a compromise,” King said.

Jaime said “at this point, the priority should be round the clock bargaining in good faith as opposed to switching to a mediation process. We remain willing and able to meet with the university on an ongoing basis to reach a resolution.”

More than 50 negotiating sessions have been held, many taking place over Zoom, including Tuesday’s, “given the geographic diversity of those involved,” King said.

About 48,000 workers, including 17,000 student researchers, at UCLA, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, the seven other University of California campuses and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory went on strike Monday, seeking higher salaries and greater annual raises, free public transit passes, improved child care benefits and greater job security.

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“The current university proposal would set the standard for graduate academic employee support among public research universities,” King said. “Under our proposals, wages for UC academic employees would be among the top of the pay scale among the top public research universities, and more comparable to private universities such as Harvard, MIT, and USC.”

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