News & Commentary

December 21, 2022

Sarah Leadem

Sarah Leadem is a joint degree candidate at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

In today’s News and Commentary, University of California academic workers reached a tentative labor agreement and Congress proposed a $25 million increase to the NLRB budget. 

Last Friday, academic student workers at the University of California reached a tentative agreement with the university. This comes on the heels of a five-week strike initiated by the 36,000 academic workers across 10 university campuses. The strike was the largest strike of academic workers in the nation. The tentative agreements would cover two separate bargaining units of academic workers: 19,000 teaching assistants represented by UAW 2865 and 17,000 academic student researchers represented by SRU-UAW. The bargaining team reported that the tentative contract included wage increases, expanded supports for student parents, stronger protections for international students, and improved transit benefits. Some union leaders, however, oppose the tentative contract and are urging members to vote against ratification this week. They highlight that the contract does not include wage increases tied to housing costs which was a priority of the strike. The ratification vote is happening this week through Friday and requires a simple majority of each union’s membership. If the members vote no, the strike will continue
The NLRB staff union celebrated the inclusion of a $25 million budget increase for the National Labor Relations Board in Congress’s omnibus budget bill. This increase is part of the $1.7 trillion federal omnibus spending bill announced by the Senate yesterday. This is significant for the NLRB which has seen chronic underfunding for years. As reported by Neil Davey, despite an increased workload due to the upswing in national union activity, the NLRB has not had a funding increase since 2014. The omnibus bill would fund the government through September 2023 and avoid a potential government shutdown.

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