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Spread the Rent Strike

Spread the Rent Strike Download the flyer pdf of this post:download Last year, graduate workers on every campus in the University of California fought for a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), including several wildcat strike actions. The university, we argued, must pay its workers enough to live where we work. Our labor actions forced concessions across the system, but nothing like the systematic response that this crisis demands. The likely return to classrooms means, for many of us, a return to the severe rent burden of coastal California. Even after the many upheavals of the past year — like a…

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Columbia Strike Solidarity Statement

Solidarity Statement with Columbia Strikers Striking Columbia graduate workers: UC Rank and File Action (RAFA) stands in solidarity with your just strike, and your entirely reasonable demands for full recognition, union shop, real recourse for harassment and discrimination, childcare, improvements in healthcare and compensation, and a contract without a “no strike” clause.  We recognize many of the responses of Columbia’s administration from our experiences in last year’s wildcat strike – it’s as if upper administrators at both of our institutions take strike-breaking tactics from the same book. As you correctly point out – despite Ira Katznelson’s protestations – your work…

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Workers Continue to Foot the Bill for the UC’s Utilities

Workers Continue to Foot the Bill for the UC’s Utilities Download the flyer pdf of this post:download The bargaining meeting with UCOP on January 28 illuminated some important elements for rank and file organizing. The proposal to allocate $100 per month for utilities, retroactive to the beginning of the pandemic, was not so much met with hostility as indifference, the primary mode of social intercourse for professional administrators. UCOP’s response was suggestive: because graduate workers are “saving” money on things like transportation, they told us, the ultimate cost of utilities is negligible. In fact, they argued, we may even be…

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When We Fight, We Win!

The following is an appraisal of the concessions that organized, militant student workers extracted from UC administration at departmental, campus, and statewide levels during the COLA labor actions. It is also an evaluation of the level of organization that made these wins possible. We seek to answer the following questions: Where did we win the most, and why? What did it take to win? And, crucially, given our current situation, how do we win again?

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Labor Coalition to Defund UCPD

In the wake of this spring’s George Floyd rebellions, labor is getting organized across the country to demand the defunding and dismantling of the police. Indeed, the movement for police abolition grows in part out of decades of grassroots, rank-and-file labor organizing. In our own workplace, unions like UAW2865 called for an end to union support for police in 2015, a call that also insisted on the importance of labor actions to remove police from UC campuses. Police unions are part of the backbone of police power in the United States; the protections they afford to police officers…

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No More False Alliances

The response to the Trump administration’s targeting of international students during the pandemic displayed the familiar tendencies of workers on the defensive, in a reactive mode. Amid the moral outrage, sloppy hot-takes, and airy condemnation of Trump and of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the majority of practical organizing saw UC graduate student workers align with UC administrators in sudden shared antagonism to the Federal Government. We, naturally, do not want to lose our visas and jobs; the UC does not want to lose a significant portion of its labor force, or its claim to a diverse and international…

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