Led by Rep. Katie Porter, 30 Members of Congress Ask UC President Michael Drake to Recognize Student Researchers United-UAW
Union members will rally across the state on Thursday to call for long-overdue recognition.
A clear majority of California’s congressional delegation (30 members), led by Representative Katie Porter (D-Irvine), have called on UC President Michael Drake to immediately recognize Student Researchers United-UAW, which represents more than 17,000 Student Researchers (SRs) across the UC system.
The union was democratically chosen by a supermajority of SRs in May of this year when they filed support cards at California’s Public Employee Relations Board. Since then, UC has refused to recognize the union. Administrators have stalled, hired “union avoidance” attorneys, made baseless objections, requested delays, and even attempted to sidestep the law by excluding thousands of researchers.
Tomorrow, workers will rally at every UC campus to call on the University to respect the democratic choice of the supermajority of card signers who are asking for a union. Press is welcome to attend, and can access the details here.
“As members of California’s congressional delegation, we urge you to immediately recognize Student Researchers United-UAW as the union chosen by the majority of 17,000 University of California Student Researchers,” the Representatives wrote. “Despite their enormous contributions, Student Researchers face persistent inequalities in their workplaces. These issues include low wages, long hours, and workplace harassment and discrimination, all of which detract from their ability to perform their timely and groundbreaking research.”
Read the full letter here.
“We are so grateful for the support of Representative Porter and our elected leaders, who are calling on UC to do the right thing,” said Moatasem Fouda, a Student Researcher who works in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at UC Irvine. “We made a legal and democratic choice to form a union so we could address the inequities that make it so difficult to participate and contribute at UC. We are hopeful that UC will listen to PERB and to these 30 members of Congress, who represent a majority of California’s congressional delegation, so that we can start negotiating a contract that makes progress for international researchers, women and parents, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and more.”
In recent weeks, UC’s intransigence has fueled a wave of activism across the state. Thousands of researchers, UC employees, and community leaders have signed petitions and resolutions demanding that UC follow the law and recognize the union.
“We will not stop fighting until they respect our right to form a union and bargain collectively,” said Reed Yalisove, a Fellow in the Materials Science & Engineering Department at UC Berkeley. “We form the backbone of UC’s research mission, and we want to focus our attention on that work – not how we’re going to make ends meet.”