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UC teaching assistants approve 3-year union contract

Students who work as teaching assistants and tutors at the University of California ratified a controversial new contract that will increase their pay by at least 2% annually over three years and improve subsidies for child care and tuition, officials announced Friday.

Members of United Auto Workers Local 2865 approved the contract by a 62% margin despite a vigorous campaign by opponents who complained that it provided inadequate pay and benefits.

The debate led to an unusually high turnout, and the "no" votes carried the day at three of the nine campuses involved -- Berkeley, Irvine and Santa Cruz -- but not enough to sway the systemwide outcome. 

More than 11,000 UC employees, all considered part-timers, are covered by the contract and earn an average of $16,000 a year, according to the union. UC officials say their total compensation is much higher when tuition rebates and other benefits are figured in.

Daraka Larimore-Hall, the local's northern vice president, said he understood that some people were unhappy with the wage increases compared to what he said were lavish salaries for UC administrators. But he said the contract was the best that could be reached during the state’s budget crisis.

-- Larry Gordon


Comments () | Archives (5)

I've been a UC TA before, and was in the Union. There's no question the UC TAs are massively overpaid for the work they do.

The contract was ratified with 62% of the vote, not a 62% margin.

@Peter: was that a typo when you said that UC Academic Student Employees (ASEs) are *over*paid? You really think that taking home just over $1,400/month is too much for ASEs to pay rent and live in some of the most expensive urban areas in the country? If so, I'm curious as to what you think would be a fairer rate of pay. Should UC ASEs work for free? Should they have to pay for the privilege of teaching UC undergrads?

ASEs already do the vast bulk of the teaching at UC, at a rate of pay that is vastly less than what other types of teachers make (except for sessional lecturers, but that's another atrocity for another time), and less than TAs make at other schools. The UC could not function without this essential labor, which it is already getting at a bargain basement price. How then are ASEs "massively overpaid"?

One more example of why California is over the cliff and on its way down. I went to college for 14 years and I NEVER heard of TA's being part of a union. The unions own the prostitute legislators in Sacramento. The unions own every county and city councilman and supervisor in the state. The unions completely dominate the school districts. The unions apparently also own higher education. Guaranteed 2% pay increase each year when 20% of California is out of work and the state is facing a $20-billion deficit? That is MY tax money and I want it back!!!

I think those who think the TA are overpaid do not fully undrestand the valuable service that the TAs render to make the UC a world renounce system that it is. They free professors and reseachers to do what they do best - add to the body of knowledge - and not waste time teaching basic courses. You do a great job and dont work for free as some would expect you to. Thank you for your service to a great university system. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK


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