Proposals for how to improve the quality of education for undergraduates by empowering ASEs with manageable workloads, adequate numbers of ASE positions, a discrimination-free university, liveable wages, and fair benefits.
ASEs are academic workers – not apprentices.
Together as ASEs, we have incredible potential to empower ourselves and our students. The union should launch a member education campaign to develop what our status as both workers and students mean. The union should also educate the broader public about our academic work and how the quality of undergraduate education at UC depends on us.
A Discrimination-Free University
ASEs routinely suffer discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, and disability amid the precarious structure of our employment. Yet our Civil and Human Rights Committee and Women’s Committee have been nonexistent for years. We will restore these and other dormant committees. We will also and add or reorganize committees to explicitly fight racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of oppression.
Guaranteed Appointments with Fee Remission and Benefits for all Graduate Students
Thousands of PhD, MA, and professional students need TA, Reader, or GSI appointments to cover their fee remissions and benefits. Our union should fight to guarantee appointments for all these students. In the immediate, the union should provide all resources necessary for grievances against UC’s backdoor cut in appointments such as campus “benefits decentralizations.” Our union should also fight to repeal any cap on the number of semesters or quarters that ASEs can receive an appointment.
We need livable wages and economic security to continue providing the highest quality education to undergrads. But this year, our take home pay actually declined. And UC Executives have admitted that our pay has fallen behind that of comparable universities in the last 5 years. We will fight to end this disparity.
Workload and Control of our work
We need a union contract that protects participation in decision-making by ASEs in departments, campuses, and the university. The contract should include smaller class sizes with set student-to-teacher ratios; guarantees that ASEs will be paid for every hour worked; and the option of yearlong, rather than semesterly or quarterly appointments.
Affordable Housing, Health, and Childcare
We need guarantees of affordable healthcare, childcare, and housing for every period of enrolled study.
We will advocate for a change to the parental leave policy to end the current discrimination between birth and non-birth parents; any restriction on paid leave for non-birth parents places unfair additional hardship on those who chose to adopt and disproportionately affects same-sex couples
Collective direct action and enforcement of the contract
Our contract and grievance procedures are tools for us to protect our rights as workers. But individual grievances on issues like workload can sometimes disempower ASEs who rely on faculty members for recommendations and career opportunities. Labor rights are won through collective action by workers; we commit to mobilizing campaigns around working conditions in order to win concrete concessions from the university in years between bargaining sessions. These campaigns would include both grievances and direct actions like department petitions, rallies, demonstrations, marches on UC executives and more.
Right to strike
The right to strike is our most fundamental right to defend our students, other workers, our welfare, and our voice at UC. Our union should fight to expand this right — including the right to strike in support of other UC workers. Otherwise, we risk further cuts, fee hikes, and power grabs by UC executives.