We, the undersigned, are writing to express our heartfelt solidarity with the demand expressed by graduate workers at UC Santa Cruz, who are demanding a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) of extra $1,412 a month for all UCSC graduate students, to enable a decent standard of living necessary to engage in academic labor. The cost of living in Santa Cruz has been rising an average of 15% per year, but the union contract, which was rejected by 85% of UCSC grad workers in the ratification vote, only grant an inadequate 3% increase in wages. As a result, student workers commonly spend more than half their income on rent or are unable to find housing at all, even though the university would not function without their labor.
On Sunday, December 8th, the General Assembly of hundreds of grad workers at UCSC called for an indefinite wildcat strike to withhold final grades until the demand is met, with an overwhelming support. We affirm the basic truth that our collective power as workers comes from our capacity to withhold labor that those who exploit us nevertheless depend upon, and our deep bonds of solidarity and care for each other. Many of us share the experience of getting paid a poverty wage for academic labor, in the face of exorbitant, ever-skyrocketing rent; We are tremendously inspired by Santa Cruz grad workers’ courage, determination and conviction.
We call upon the UCSC administration to immediately pay the Cost-of-Living Adjustment of $1,412 a month to all graduate students. We condemn any attempts by the administration to intimidate striking student workers and further demand that there be no retaliation of any kind against the strikers and organizers. We further call upon faculty at UCSC to support the strike, and not engage in any actions that would undermine the strike.
Dear fellow workers at Santa Cruz, your struggle is a source of hope for all of us everywhere, who are seeking to build real workers’ power in our communities. You deserve everything you are fighting for and so much more, and we are with you, always.
NO COLA, NO GRADES!
*See the full list of signatories at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZUMBNQrLxSOLnrM2LvIZyIeomDvvMRSPjiOo0xSIOwI/