BFI Statement on the UAW Strike on UC Campuses

November 15, 2022
By Berkeley Food Institute

On Monday, November 14, 2022, tens of thousands of graduate students and postdocs initiated a strike across ten UC campuses. With this strike, graduate student researchers and instructors, teaching assistants, readers, tutors, and postdoctoral scholars and fellows are urging the UC system to agree to contracts that reflect their value to the institution. They are demanding increased salaries to meet the high cost of living in a state especially fraught with income inequality; increased childcare subsidies and parental leave; better job security by filling funding gaps in the summer months, when graduate students are otherwise not guaranteed positions; and other benefits that would make UC a more inclusive place to work.

We at the Berkeley Food Institute express our support for the graduate students and researchers in their strike. We recognize that our mission of connecting food systems research to policy, and connecting students to food systems careers, wholly depends on the University of California being a place where students can feel the freedom to learn, study, research, and work without having to struggle with rent, childcare, and other exorbitant costs of living. Our internal wage policy for undergraduate positions hews closely to the City of Berkeley Living Wage Ordinance and is currently $20.30/hour; our wage policy for graduate students pays all graduate students hourly at least a GSR Step 5 rate ($29.02/hour). We are trying our best to build the food system we want to see, and core to that is paying a living wage.

We stand in solidarity with our students and postdocs, and we urge UC to value them and their work, without whom we would not have a premier higher education system.

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