We must fight as both workers and as citizens for accessible and affordable education for all from pre-school through university.
We stand in solidarity with our fellow education workers – both those performing different work within the UC system and those doing similar work as teachers and researchers at other universities. Over the next few months we will start to reach out to our fellow academic student employees at other universities, beginning with our fellow UAW members at CSU, to win comparable standards with respect to (living) wages, benefits, (manageable) workloads, and (stronger) rights. Similarly, in order to achieve a higher and more uniform set of wages, rights, and benefits for education workers we will begin discussions with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, California School Employees, and other unions in the education sector to join the efforts and represent the needs of nearly 5 million education employees across the U.S.
Our solidarity should not be limited to guaranteeing a standard of well-being for educational workers; rather, those of us who make schools work and understand the importance of education personally and professionally should strive to win better funding for educational programs and institutions at the state and federal levels, from Head Start through graduate programs. Our work must begin from the premise that the current budget and economic crises cannot be solved by cutting essential programs; we cannot improve education funding at the expense of the sick, the unemployed, or the poor. We will also stand alongside fellow public employee unions to protect hard-fought gains in ensuring decent wages, pensions, and benefits for those whose work serves the public good.
In contrast to growing prison spending and cuts to higher education — we see investment in UC and critical programs for working people as the best solution for California’s economic and budget crisis. Investment in UC could come from a windfall oil-profit tax, reversing the Bush income-tax cut for the richest by assessing an additional 2% California State income tax on those who make $250,000 or more, and assessing the property taxes of big business based on current property values.
In the immediate term we will organize for and participate in future coordinated protest efforts against the evisceration and misallocation of education funding. We are also working to advance the right of immigrant students to affordable, accessible higher education and citizenship.