Editorial: A strike by UC academic workers would tarnish the prestigious university system
The University of California, or U of C, is the mother of California higher education. While the system struggles with declining enrollment and the loss of thousands of full- and part-time faculty, one of the most important and prestigious academic units—the University library system—is growing under pressure.
The library system has been a pillar of U of C’s success ever since its founding in 1868. But, due to an unusual set of circumstances—namely, the University’s decision to strike every year—it has faced serious financial stress. And its financial problems have had disastrous effects for the campus community.
In 2005, UC officials reported that the library system’s net operating surplus fell to zero, for the first time in its history.
Two years later, the library system has lost $33 million, according to the most recent State Library Directory.
On top of that, UC President Mark Yudof has announced that a proposed 8.3 percent wage hike for UC instructional staff will go into effect in August, and he has told faculty that he will seek to make them members of the bargaining unit who can negotiate for faculty salaries in the coming contract. This would leave the UC staff without a seat at the bargaining table until after the November 2 presidential election.
U of C’s strike, on May 1-27, is just the latest in a string of strikes that have occurred in recent years on California college campuses and university systems.
In 2000, UC teachers and students went on strike in an effort to raise wages (without success), and in 2009, the UC Faculty and Staff Association (CFSAA) went on strike, as well as the UC College Republicans.
In addition, the University of California has endured numerous strikes over the past decade, mostly in the context of contract negotiations.
The University of California is the second-oldest of the four-year state-supported colleges, founded in 1868. Its mission is “to advance the ideals of the free market, individual opportunity, peace on earth, and justice for all.”
While the U of C is by far the largest system of higher learning in California, it is by no means the largest college of the University of California.
The University of California has about 15