Finals at UC Irvine set to start soon as student workers strike enters 3rd week

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Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Finals at UC Irvine set to start as workers strike enters 3rd week
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Finals start next Tuesday at UC Irvine but there are still a lot of unanswered questions as protests at all ten University of California campuses go into a third week.

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- Finals start next Tuesday at UC Irvine but there are still a lot of unanswered questions as protests at all 10 University of California campuses go into a third week.

Almost 48,000 UC student researchers, teaching assistants and postdoctoral scholars walked off the job on Nov. 14 demanding better pay and benefits.

Negotiations between United Auto Workers, the union that represents the student workers, and the university continue.

"I'm stressed but I'm still hopeful," said Yiwen Lin, an education department graduate at UCI.

Picketers remain united at UCI.

"I can't believe we're into week 3 and still doing this," said Biraj Bisht, who is also a graduate researcher. "I imagined we'd be over a longer; earlier but we're still here and we'll still be here as long as it takes."

Their classmate Lina Brodsky adds, "It's so nice to see so many people come out and really want the same thing and it's just not for us, it's for the people around us and for the people who can't take out student loans and can't be here because they're being pressured or retaliated against by their PIs."

In a statement, a UCI spokesperson said: As the University continues to negotiate in good faith, we remain committed to instructional and research continuity. Continuity of course instruction may come in many alternate forms, including (but not limited to) hybrid instruction, and student support resources remain open. We will continue to work diligently to support our students through the remainder of this Fall Quarter.

Heading into the finals next week, those on strike like Miguel Quirarte, a PHD student and teaching assistant, know many undergraduate students are caught in the middle.

"Students that are in my discussion groups keeping sending me emails like, 'Where are you? What's going to happen?'" said Quirarte.

Lin added, "I think the best thing is just to try and understand the situation. We wish there would be more undergraduate to be us in solidarity."

Student workers plan to continue to strike until an agreement between the union and the university is reached.

They hope it happens before the end of the fall quarter, which is on Friday, Dec. 9.