GSIs 'Grade-In' to Protest Unresolved Contract

Photo: Graduate students conduct a
David Herschorn/Staff
Graduate students conduct a "grade-in" on Wednesday, which was used to protest the lack of a contract with the UC by sitting in and grading tests and papers in the Sproul Hall foyer.

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Correction Appended

With dozens of blue books and red pens in hand, about 30 GSIs sat down inside UC Berkeley's Sproul Hall to grade tests and papers Wednesday afternoon, calling attention to their union's demands of the UC, while simultaneous negotiations in Los Angeles once again put off a conclusion to the terms of the union's contract.

As UC officials and representatives from the United Auto Workers Local 2865 union - which represents 12,000 academic student employees in the UC system - met in Los Angeles to discuss the contract, members of the union at UC Berkeley participated in the "grade-in" with the support of other campus staff and students.

For more than four months, the union and the UC have tried to come to terms on the contract. During the discussions Wednesday, it was decided that bargaining will resume on Nov. 9, and though the contract was set to expire this Friday, it has now been extended for a third time to Nov. 15, according to the union's Northern Vice President and UC Santa Barbara graduate student Daraka Larimore-Hall.

Larimore-Hall added that no progress was made during the negotiations and several outstanding issues remain, including wage increases, childcare subsidies and job security.

"We hope to discuss and resolve all issues, but the bargaining team will be deliberating whether the UC's behavior justifies an unfair labor (practices) strike,"

he said.

In the past, UC officials have maintained that they are attempting to resolve the negotiations. University officials were unable for comment as of press time.

Demonstrators at UC Berkeley gathered at Sather Gate at noon Wednesday and eventually marched to Sproul Hall, where GSIs sat down and graded papers.

"We want to call attention to the hours spent grading because this work is mostly invisible and taken for granted by the university, as evidenced by their (UC) contract offer," said Megan Wachspress, spokesperson for the UC Berkeley Graduate Student Organizing Committee.

GSIs at the demonstration said they are struggling financially and wanted more consideration from the university.

"We're just overworked," said UC Berkeley French graduate student Aubrey Gabel. "We're the majority of the workforce on the campus. It's about time we be made a priority."

Correction: Tuesday, November 2, 2010
A previous version of this article misquoted Aubrey Gabel, as saying "We're the majority of the workplace in the campus." In fact, Gabel said "We're the majority of the workforce on the campus."

The Daily Californian regrets the error.

Contact Karinina Cruz at [email protected]

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