On Monday, almost 48,000 unionised faculty and staff members throughout the University of California system went on strike.
The rising cost of living in cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, and Berkeley has prompted a push among teaching assistants, researchers, postdoctoral students, tutors, and graders for higher wages and improved benefits such as subsidised child care.
The strike is scheduled to begin only weeks before the December finals, and it is expected to interrupt classes.
Some teachers had already told their students that the rest of the semester would be pushed back.
In a statement, the University of California said that it had started talks with a real desire to find a middle ground and that “several preliminary agreements” had been reached on problems.
This led to an offer of a 5% wage increase for the first year and 3% for each year after that.
Multi-year agreements that “recognise these workers’ vital and highly valued contributions to UC’s teaching and research goals” are “UC’s principal aim in these talks,” the statement said.
However, employees argue it is not sufficient.
They want $54,000 per year as a bare minimum salary.