TSSU Executive in solidarity with academic worker union organizers at UCSD

The Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU) Executive Committee at Simon Fraser University stands in solidarity with the academic workers at University of California, San Diego (UCSD), who went on strike for six weeks along with 50,000 other workers across the University of California system to win a contract that includes substantial wage increases and new workplace bullying, harassment, and migrant worker protections. After UCSD signed the contract with the union, the University administration refused to implement it and instead retaliated against union organizers in a series of punishments and arrests. A month after 60 UCSD academic workers peacefully took the stage holding signs at the 44th UCSD Alumni Awards on May 5th to protest the University’s refusal to implement the contract, the University charged 59 attendees on the registration list with “physical assault,” “physical abuse and threats to health and safety,” and “disruption of university activities.” Over half of the accused workers deny ever being present at the event. More recently, the University police arrested two UCSD graduate student workers and one post-doctorate, and held them in custody for over 12 hours for writing “Living Wage Now” on the sidewalk in chalk. They are now facing felony charges for conspiracy and vandalism.

We deplore the UCSD Administration’s violent retaliation against academic workers for peacefully protesting and using chalk (an impermanent and easily washable medium) on the campus sidewalk. TSSU has its own history with retaliation from Simon Fraser University administration for writing messages in chalk, and we stand side-by-side with workers across the academic community who must endlessly fight to gain and protect every single right while constantly facing retaliatory violence and punishment. Workers have the right to organize and collectively bargain, and that right should be upheld and protected at all times. Peaceful protest and demonstration are vital tools for bringing attention to the issues faced by workers, and we condemn any retaliation against workers for exercising their rights. As William Schneider, a graduate researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, says, “This is…very clearly part of a larger coordinated crackdown of union activities across the UC.”

UCSD continues to refuse to implement key aspects of their new contract, while Pradeep Khosla, the UCSD Chancellor, received a $500,000 salary increase just to stay in his role at the University. It is clear where UCSD’s priorities lie. With unwavering support for the academic worker union organizers at UCSD, we call on the University leadership to immediately drop the charges against the academic worker organizers and immediately implement the contract to which they are legally bound.

In solidarity,

The Teaching Support Staff Union Executive

Since 1978

The Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU)