Labor Unrest at UC, Kaiser and Starbucks Across California

Welcome to “Strikesgiving,” round two: At least three strikes are set to take place across California in the next week as burned-out and frustrated workers hit the picket line.

Starting today, as many as 48,000 University of California academic workers — including teaching assistants, postdoctoral scholars and graduate student researchers — are set to strike at all 10 UC campuses, a move that could cause some classes, grading and lab work to grind to a halt just weeks ahead of final exams.

The four striking unions — which have filed 23 unfair labor practice complaints against UC — are pushing for significant pay increases, improved child care subsidies, enhanced health care coverage and public transit passes, among other demands.

“We teach the classes, grade the papers and perform the cutting-edge research that has earned UC its reputation as the best public university in the world,” the unions said in a statement. UC said in a statement that it has “bargained in good faith” and proposed contracts that “are generous, responsive to union priorities, and recognize the many valuable contributions of these employees.”

Bay City News reported that mMore than 10,000 academic workers at the University of California campuses in the greater Bay Area went on strike this morning, a union source said.

The strike at UC Berkeley began at 8am and included workers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Nearly 10,000 workers at those two institutions walked off the job. About 2,700 workers at UC Santa Cruz and roughly another 2,700 at the University of California at San Francisco also walked off the job.

On Tuesday, fast food workers across California are slated to strike outside of restaurants including Starbucks, Chipotle and Jack in the Box to protest the companies’ efforts to qualify a 2024 referendum to overturn a new law establishing a state council to regulate industry wages and working conditions.

McDonald’s employees across the country also plan to protest outside of the company’s corporate headquarters in Chicago to show their solidarity with California workers, according to the advocacy group Fight for $15 and a Union.

Next Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 21-22, more than 21,000 registered nurses and nurse practitioners are set to strike at 21 Kaiser Permanente facilities across Northern California to call for increased hiring and training, minimum staffing guidelines and improved job protections.

“We are chronically short-staffed, which means patients are waiting longer for care,” Cathy Kennedy, president of the California Nurses Association, said in a statement. “This is unacceptable and unconscionable when Kaiser made more than $14 billion during the first two years of the pandemic.”

Kaiser says that it’s hired about 3,300 additional nurses since 2021 and is “committed to hiring hundreds more.” The proposed labor action comes not long after thousands of Kaiser mental health workers walked off the job for 10 weeks.

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