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Dear fellow stu…

23 Nov

Dear fellow students,

Amidst growing outrage over police violence against the Occupy and Refund California movement at UC Davis, UC Berkeley, and the CSU Trustees meeting – including the pepper spraying and baton beatings of non-violent protesters – the University of California Board of Regents just announced that they will close their doors to the public when they vote on new cuts to education on November 28th. The public can only “participate” through a sham teleconference.

This echoes the announcement from the California State University Board of Trustees that they will not engage in a public discussion or re-vote regarding the illegitimate tuition increase they passed behind closed doors last Wednesday. The leadership of both the UC and CSU systems refuse to face thousands of outraged students, faculty, and staff who demand they stop treating the 99% like an ATM.

Click here to demand the UC Regents and CSU Trustees open their doors to the public:


You can view video footage of the violent repression of the protests at Davis on the petition page.  And when you sign the petition, we’ll give you links to campus-by-campus details of mass actions on Nov. 28 to open the Regents and Trustees meetings to all and devote the discussion to how banks and millionaires — not students and workers
— can pay to refund education.  The petition page also has a links to a full report on our movement over the last two months.

On November 16th, the CSU Trustees expelled hundreds of students and workers from their meeting before voting behind closed doors to increase tuition by 9%, a move that may be illegal. California’s public education system, a promise of the past to the future and a critical way to assure our state’s economic growth, has been decimated by $17 billion in budget cuts and tuition increases since 2009. Next month, $2.5 billion in additional cuts are coming, and the 1% on the boards of CSU and UC are again trying to pass them on to students, teachers, and working families. Now is a time when they should be seeking to break from the status quo and support concrete solutions like requiring millionaires to pay their fair share to fund education.
Instead, they are doing the opposite.

Sign the ReFund California petition demanding both the UC and CSU Boards open their doors and allow FULL PUBLIC PARTICIPATION in their upcoming meetings, and that the CSU Board revote on its illegitimate 9% fee increase:


The Regents and the Trustees are made up of corporate elites such as Bank of America Director Monica Lozano and former Wachovia Bank senior executive Russell Gould. It’s time for them to stand with the 99% and support making the 1% pay to fund education.

The momentum is ours. Don’t let them hide from the public so they can continue the same policies that have bankrupted the 99% and crippled higher education in California. Demand they listen to us now:


In solidarity,

Cheryl Deutsch, Anthropology – UC Irvine – UAW 2865 President Elliot Kim, History – UC Riverside – UAW 2865 Southern Vice President Sara Smith, Labor History – UC Santa Cruz – UAW 2865 Northern Vice President Charlie Eaton, Sociology – UC Berkeley – UAW 2865 Finance Secretary Mandy Cohen, Comparative Literature – UC Berkeley – UAW 2865 Recording Secretary Kyle Arnone, Sociology – UCLA – UAW 2865 Trustee Nick Kardahji, History – UC Berkeley – UAW 2865 Trustee Brenda Medina-Hernandez, History – UC Davis – UAW 2865 Trustee Jordan Brocious, Physices – UC Irvine – UAW 2865 Sergeant at Arms Blanca Misse, French – UC Berkeley – UAW 2865 GuideImage


Ethnic Studies Graduate Alliance endorses NO vote on UAW Contract

28 Nov

(from those who use it):

The following letter was written by a group of Ethnic Studies graduate students at UC.  We are thrilled to announce that they unanimously decided to endorse a no vote on the bullshit contract that the UAW 2865 leadership is trying to push through.  One of our favorite aspects of this letter is their emphasis not just on wages and cost of living — though of course this is important — but on the no vote process itself:

A successfully organized “no” vote would be a great show of strength from the progressive membership of the union

Precisely.  This is not just about wages, but about building rank-and-file power in a union commandeered by a closed clique of careerist bureaucrats.  Next time someone from the e-board criticizes you for asking for an extra $18/month, let them know that this isn’t just about the money.  This is about removing them from power and taking back our union!  All power to the rank-and-file!

Solidarity with our comrades in Ethnic Studies as they fight back against so-called Operational Excellence!  Defend Ethnic Studies!

On Tuesday November 16th, the majority of the UAW 2865 Bargaining Team
reached a tentative agreement with the UC raising the total amount of
childcare expenses ASEs (Academic Student Employees) can claim for
reimbursement, resolving the language surrounding fee remissions, and
securing partial remission of ASE nonresident tuition, yet there was
no progress on wages. Given these circumstances, the Ethnic Studies
Graduate Student Alliance voted on whether to endorse a “NO” position
on the upcoming ratification vote, and all those present unanimously
agreed that we as a body are opposed to the UAW’s tentative agreement.

The Alliance’s stance is in agreement with the sentiment expressed in
the resolution reached by a contingent of African Diasporic Studies
and Ethnic Studies graduate students at an earlier meeting. Below are
three brief and underlying reasons we are opposed to the tentative
agreement and endorse a NO vote:

1) The high cost of living in California deems ASE wages incapable
of offsetting inflation.

2) A successfully organized “no” vote would be a great show of
strength from the progressive membership of the union and put the
bargaining team on a much stronger footing during negotiations.

3) Even if you are not currently an ASE, the contract that is
ultimately agreed upon will be the one you work under should you
become an ASE in the next three years

Risks involved with this strategy include: prolonging the negotiation
process, especially given the upcoming holidays and potentially losing
concessions originally won from the UC. However, the UC would be
forced to recognize that their lack of concessions on the vital issues
of wages and cost of living is unacceptable to their graduate students
and respond accordingly.

Voting will take place between Nov. 29 and Dec. 3 at polling stations
on all campuses of the UC system.

Given the direct bearing that this contract will have on the daily
lives of ASEs, it is important that all grad students vote in the
upcoming ratification. For those who are not yet formally enrolled as
members in Local 2865 you are free to do so at the polls even if you
are not currently an ASE.

In solidarity,

Michael Schulze-Oechtering Castaneda, Rob Connell, Ziza Delgado, Kevin
Escudero, Maria Faini, Marcelo Garzo, Jorge Gonzalez, Ariko Ikehara,
Kim McNair, Abraham Ramirez, Gabriela Spears-Rico, Kim Tran, Amy

Letter of solidarity from CUNY

25 Nov

(from those who use it):

Given the ridiculousness of both the UAW executive board and various UC student newspapers’ take on the contract, it is absolutely refreshing to read this letter of solidarity from our comrades in the CUNY Adjunct Project, a collective of graduate student workers organizing for fair wages and labor practices at the City University of New York.  Just the other day, the Daily Cal argued,

Indeed, the UAW members in Berkeley posted a piece Saturday that outlines their opposition.  We are willing to believe that many more intricacies in this issue exist, but union members are not articulating their concerns well to fully communicate what flaws they see in this proposal. To us, it appeared reasonable in not only incorporating wage increases but also making impressive gains in child-care subsidies.

Someone needs to explain to these idiots a little something called inflation.  It’s beyond us how they cited AWaDU’s piece without gaining this knowledge.  More to the point, UAW members at UC campuses currently make around $1000 less than their counterparts at comparable public institutions.  If this fact coupled with a subinflation “raise” is something to celebrate, then we must be living in a world where we should celebrate losses as victories.  Or perhaps we are, since this is precisely what UAW 2865 Vice President Daraka Larimore-Hall told theUCSD Guardian:

“It’s a great contract, particularly in this budget climate,” Larimore-Hall said. “It’s a strong package of guaranteed wage increases with the possibility of even more if the budget situation improves.”

We can’t say we’re surprised that this guy would celebrate an effective pay cut in real terms as a victory in order to advance his career.  We’d spurn him as a politician, but that wouldn’t be much of an epithet for the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Santa Barbara Democratic Party.  Anything to build your CV, right?

In any case, here’s the letter from our CUNY comrades.  Much love to them in their struggle, and we urge you to visit their site.

Dear UAW Local 2865,

As members of the Adjunct Project (AP) and other precarious workers at the City University of New York we join with members of AWaDU and those members of the UAW 2865 Bargaining team who encouraged members to voteno on the currently proposed contract (Nov. 21st 2010). In our workplaces, unfortunately management thinks it can force us to accept horrible conditions, low wages, and an unacceptable present and future for our children, partners, and extended families.  In our last contract negotiations, members of AP advocated for a no vote on a contract that was rushed over a summer period, and made no significant gains for contingent workers, who teach the majority of students.  Although we were not successful in voting no due to the objective conditions of a forced timeline, the mobilization for that vote has made us even stronger today.

Historically, contract negotiations have been moments of both strength and stress for the rank-and-file.  While contracts can be times for workers to rise up and make demands, negotiations can also feel demoralizing for workers, while management and representatives meet behind closed doors.  At CUNY, we both insist on transparency during negotiations so that we can militantly push for demands that we need, but also know that our power comes from our labor and our ability to withhold it, not from closed-door negotiations.  Voting noshows management the power of organizing our workplaces, that we will not accept less than we work for, and that we do have the power!  Right now, UC students across the schools are agitated and ready to force their power.  A better contract is one step in an ongoing struggle to push the demands for working people forward, but it is not the final step.

Brothers and sisters, we urge you to vote “NO!” and continue to struggle.

In solidarity,
Adjunct Project and Contingent workers at CUNY


All UC grads: Vote NO on a bullshit contract, 11/29-12/2

22 Nov

(from those who use it and AWaDU):

Great new post from our comrades in AWaDU, the opposition caucus in UAW 2865.  If you are a graduate student on any UC campus, you have no excuse not to be a member of the union; if you are a member of the union, you have no excuse not to read this piece.  This no vote is the single most important thing you can do as a union member this semester, short of actually striking.  As wewrote a couple of days ago, these careerist bureaucrats sold out rank-and-file members, agreeing to a contract with subinflation “raises,” amounting to a pay cut in real terms.  When confronted on the issue, Local 2865 President Christine Petit, a member (along with most of the rest of the bargaining team and e-board) of the reactionary “administration caucus,” told UC Irvine rank-and-file that members don’t care about raises, only child care.  When her interrogators pushed her, she couldn’t specify which members she was even talking about.  Of course she couldn’t. The e-board doesn’t talk to rank-and-file, and as we have demonstrated repeatedly on this blog, is actually out to quash their active organizing.  Our only weapon against these collaborators with management is our ability to mobilize for a no vote on this bullshit contract.

So again, read this piece from AWaDU.  Fuck the administration caucus, fuck the e-board, fuck everyone on the bargaining team who signed this contract, and above all, vote no between 11/29 and 12/2 on any UC campus!

UAW bureaucrats sell us out — THIS MEANS WAR!

22 Nov

(from those who use it):

These careerists can’t get enough, can they?

Those of us working in the opposition caucus Academic Workers for a Democratic Union (AWaDU) within UAW 2865 received two terrible pieces of news last night.  First, if you recall, we announced a statewide membership meeting on Nov. 30 intended to override the bargaining team and call for a strike.  AWaDU successfully organized well over the quorum and sent the list of participants to the executive board of the local, only to learn that — surprise, surprise — “yours is the second group of petitions we’ve received today that calls for a special statewide membership meeting.”  Given that we’ve never seen a statewide membership meeting during our multi-year stint at the UC, the chances that two would be called for the same day is laughable.  Moreover, the fact that these bureaucrats scraped together just under 400 signatures overnight from campuses that struggled to turn out more than 50 students on Oct. 7 is absolutely preposterous.  We demand to see the signatures!

Why would the e-board want to hold a statewide membership meeting of their own?  The idea is that if they hold it in LA — and that is currently their intention — then the Berkeley and Santa Cruz rank-and-file can’t make it.  Given that these are far and away the most active units, this is yet another indication of these professional politicians’ contempt for union democracy.

The e-board member who apparently organized the counter-meeting is Filiberto Nolasco, the so-called “Guide” of the local.  Members of AWaDU can be seen in the video clip below confronting him earlier today at the Regents’ meeting.  This stooge was there in a pinstripe suit to give interviews to network news stations.  He asked a group of rank-and-file caucus members who were questioning him, “Can we please stop?  This is a little uncomfortable.” “It’s not going to stop, it’s just starting!” they replied.  “You’ll look great when you have your rank-and-file shouting you down on the news.”  You can see this exchange for yourself in the video below, filmed by a rank-and-file UAW member this morning.  As promised, we shouted him down on the news.

If it were just the conference, we’d be angry, but not ready to declare a full-fledged war, but then, late last night, UAW members received word that these scumbags sold us out and agreed to the subinflation “raises” being offered by management.  This, despite organized opposition on the Berkeley and Santa Cruz campuses and systemwide opposition on display in this petition.  This, despite the fact that not a single representative from Berkeley or Santa Cruz would agree to sign the contract (which, by the way, has never happened before in the short history of our local).  The bargaining team came down from an initial 7 % raise offer to 5, and then to 4; management moved from 1 to 2 %.  This is compromise?  No, this is war.

So what now?  Do we give up?

Right. Our comrades in AWaDU don’t play, and we have faith that they’ll successfully organize a no vote campaign around this bullshit contract.  That means that if you are a grad student on any UC campus, you are entitled tovote no on this ridiculous wage cut.  The e-board is holding the ratification vote between Monday, Nov. 29 and Thursday, Dec. 2. When these bureaucrats tell the membership

We did it! We reached tentative agreement on a three-year contract with UC on which we are recommending a YES vote.

The hard work and active involvement of a supermajority of UAW Local 2865 members across the state in our contract campaign made it possible for us to not only stave off any concessions, but expand our rights and compensation in key areas

who do they think they’re kidding?  We “stave[d] off concessions”?  So wages are irrelevant now?  We should celebrate shitty child care subsidies instead of reallyshitty child care subsidies?

Vote NO! on a bullshit contract! 

We denounce these bureaucrats not because we are anti-union, but precisely the opposite: union power = rank-and-file power.  We denounce these idiots because we take union power seriously.  These desk jockeys who claim to mobilize in our name make careers by conceding to management.

The UAW bargaining team are collaborators with management!

UAW bureaucrats and UCOP bureaucrats: twin enemies!

Vote NO! on a bullshit contract!

Why we are voting NO

22 Nov


Many of you have already heard that this last Tuesday, the UAW and the UC reached a tentative agreement with the UC on the contract protecting GSIs, readers and tutors working throughout the UC system.  The union has sent out an official email to members, telling us what a great contract this is and recommending that we ratify it when it comes to a vote at the end of the month.  Yet there is by no means consensus within the union about the strength of this contract: some members of the bargaining team who were present at the agreement even refused to sign it.  While this contract does make some modest gains, it is, in many ways, quite simply not good enough.  That is why rank-and-file members of UAW Local 2865 are voting NO on this contract agreement – and why we encourage you to join us in voting NO as a call for both a stronger contract and a stronger union.

Beginning last spring, members of the Berkeley unit of the union met in department and membership meetings to talk about what we needed from the new contract.  Several key demands came out of these meetings: full fee remission, a real wage increase, better childcare subsidies, improved job security, dependent health insurance.  Rank-and-file union members intervened in the bargaining process regularly during the last few months to ensure that our bargaining team knew it had the support of its members to take a strong position on these demands – that these were the things we needed and were prepared to fight for.  There is some progress toward some of these demands in the new contract.  The childcare subsidy is up to a maximum $2400/year from $900/year, and yet compared to actual costs of childcare (which are often $12,000/year or more), these gains are clearly inadequate. Most of our other demands were conceded in negotiations, including full fee remission, a real wage increase, and better appointment security.

Voting NO on the contract means, then, voting against an agreement that is weak on the core demands of union members – but it isn’t only that.  Much more than the intricacies of this or that article, the problem with this contract lies in the campaign our union has run to get it.  Aside from cryptic emails to membership that raised more questions than they answered, and a dead-on-arrival “Report Card” campaign, the union leadership chose not to use its resources to mobilize union members to fight for a strong contract, and in fact did everything they could to make it difficult for union members to organize ourselves.  The leadership is right to praise the members for “holding hundreds of departmental meetings to discuss bargaining demands and prepare to strike if needed…attending delegations to bargaining and to key administrators; participating in grade-ins and other actions highlighting our contract campaign and the struggle for quality education around the state.” What that email doesn’t tell you is that those efforts all arose from the initiative of rank-and-file members, without the support of the leadership. This is largely because they saw it as a foregone conclusion that concessions (like our pay cut “wage increase”) were inevitable given the financial state of the UC.  They entirely adopted the administration’s logic about the management of the university’s resources, rather than advocating for a prioritization of the teaching mission of the UC – and therefore of the teachers who make that mission happen.  They went into the bargaining process prepared to concede rather than fight, and so preempted union members from fighting for what we believe this contract needs to defend: both our own working conditions and the future of working and learning in the UC.

For all of these reasons, we are voting NO on the contract agreement. We are voting to send the union and the UC back to bargaining because we think we can win a better contract, and because we want the chance to fight for one.

See the tentative agreement and where it falls short.

Learn more about what a no vote will mean.