Invitation to Strike
UC Berkeley Grad Workers are on a WILDCAT STRIKE beginning Monday, March 16!
As voted at the Cal COLA General Assembly on March 9, 2020, graduate workers at UC Berkeley have declared their support and willingness to participate in a full work stoppage, withholding all labor related to teaching indefinitely, commencing Monday, March 16. Here we present a summary of the strike resolution and strike vote, our invitation to all laborers at UC Berkeley involved in teaching to join the strike effort, and our call for solidarity. We need your help to make this strike a success!
March 9, 2020
Dear COLA supporters,
We have exciting news coming out of this afternoon's General Assembly! As you may know, last week, on March 2, the General Assembly passed a resolution to organize a strike through a method of departmental organizing, and called for a general assembly vote for a wildcat strike when ten departments published letters declaring themselves strike- ready.
In the last seven days, fifteen departments have publicly declared themselves strike ready: the Departments of African American Studies, Anthropology, Art Practice, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (our first STEM department, and not our last), Comparative Literature, Ethnic Studies, Geography, German, History of Art, Near Eastern Studies, Rhetoric, Slavic Languages and Literature, Spanish and Portuguese, Theatre, Dance, & Performance Studies, and the Graduate School of Education have all delivered open letters declaring willingness to strike to Chancellor Christ demanding the reinstatement of the Santa Cruz workers, a COLA for graduate student workers across the UC system, and the defunding and demilitarization of the UC police department across all campuses.
With support from graduate student workers in these fifteen departments and others, the graduate student workers at tonight's Cal COLA General Assembly voted to initiate a full work stoppage, withholding all labor related to instruction and grading as of next Monday, March 16, 2020.
The graduate students participating in this strike are acting in their capacity as workers and in solidarity with the COLA4ALL movement and the striking graduate students at UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, and UC San Diego. They are not acting as representatives of, or in the name of, any other organizing body, though they welcome solidarity from all corners.
The full text of the strike resolution put to vote can be found here.
Graduate student workers at the General Assembly voted on the following strike actions:
I support and am ready to participate in a grading strike in which I do not submit grades at the end of the semester and immediately cease inputting grades into databases maintained by the university administration.
Item 1 passed, with 94% of those voting in favor of participating in a grading strike.
I support and am ready to participate in a full work stoppage in which I cease all activity related to teaching including planning and preparing classes, attending class, section, office hour, grading, etc. This full work stoppage includes the cessation of all labor related to online coursework should classes move online.
Item 2 passed, with 89.7% of those voting in favor of participating in a full work stoppage.
Dates for the start of the full work stoppage. Please vote on each date separately. I support and am ready to go on a full work stoppage strike on:
Monday, March 16
Wednesday, April 1
The General Assembly voted to commence the strike on Monday, March 16, with 76.9% voting in favor.
We are proud and excited to declare UC Berkeley graduate student workers are going on a wildcat strike consisting of a full work stoppage starting March 16.
If you are a graduate student instructor or reader, an undergraduate employed as a student instructor or reader, or if you perform any other labor at UC Berkeley related to teaching, we welcome you to join us in our strike. If you are a faculty member, a student, a worker on campus, or an interested community member, we welcome and invite your solidarity and support.
We cannot let up now. As the strike date approaches, we must put all our efforts into departmental organizing. As a speaker said at tonight's assembly, we got fifteen departments on board in seven days. In the next seven days, we can get fifteen more.
If your department is not yet strike-ready, the time to act is now. Read our guide on How to organize your department, and contact us by email at email@example.com to join the effort and spread the strike across all departments on campus, from the humanities to the social sciences, STEM, and beyond.
Our strength lies in our numbers, and in our solidarity with one another. Together, we can force the UC administration, in the language of our comrades in the Geography department, to "immediately reinstate the graduate student workers, at UC Santa Cruz and cease retaliation against striking students, grant a long overdue cost of living adjustment that meets the basic needs of all UC graduate students regardless of status, and demilitarize campus police, ensuring that University resources and authority are never used to criminalize students and University workers nor curtail their political rights."
In addition to voting on the strike, the COLA General Assembly began discussions on building a strike fund and elected our first Financial Secretary. We'll share updates on this effort, including how and where to donate to the strike fund, in this space and on social media.
Now more than ever, we need your support in our fight for COLA. If you would like to join our movement and get involved with one of our many working groups, send us an email, from a personal email address, at firstname.lastname@example.org, come to the next COLA General Assembly on March 16, and visit us at www.payusmoreucb.com. You can contact us and follow updates on instagram at @payusmoreucb and on twitter at @payusmoreucb.
Together, with your help, we can win.