Student Worker Union, UC Fail to Reach Agreement

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Following more than four months of punctuated contract negotiations between University of California officials and a union representing more than 12,000 academic student employees, the two parties reached another impasse Friday after failing to reach a compromise on issues ranging from wage increases to child care subsidies.

On Thursday, officials from the UC and the United Auto Workers Local 2865 - a union representing graduate student instructors, readers and tutors throughout the UC system - resumed bargaining following a stalemate at the end of September that necessitated that the union's contract, which would have expired Sept. 30, be extended until Oct. 15 in hopes of reaching a compromise.

However, after bargaining all day Thursday and late into Friday, an agreement was not reached and negotiations once again broke down, with neither side able to reach an agreement, said Nick Kardahji, a UC Berkeley graduate student and the recording secretary of the union. He added that the union's contract has been extended once more, and is set to expire Oct. 29 with negotiations resuming Oct. 27.

Throughout the drawn-out process, which has been marked by repeated breakdowns in negotiations, the union has consistently asserted that the UC has not been bargaining in good faith, filing unfair labor practice charges against the UC with the Public Employment Relations Board at the end of September. However, officials from the university have maintained that the UC has been bargaining in good faith and working to reach an agreement in a timely fashion.

"Representatives of the University of California and the United Auto Workers are attempting to resolve the negotiations," said Steve Montiel, UC spokesperson, in an e-mail. "The parties are very close, and we are hopeful that agreement can be reached by the end of October."

While the parties are close to an agreement on some issues, several major issues - child care subsidies, worker wage increases and bargaining team compensation - remain unresolved, said Daraka Larimore-Hall, the union's Northern vice president and a graduate student at UC Santa Barbara. The most prominent of these issues is child care subsidies, he added.

Aaida Samad covers higher education. Contact her at [email protected]

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