The Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM) Delegates’ Council and Executive Committee stand in solidarity with the striking graduate student workers of UC Santa Cruz (UAW 2865) and the Santa Cruz GSA. Since December 8, 2019, members of the UCSC Graduate Student Association (UGSA) and the Santa Cruz unit of UAW 2865 have led a wildcat strike to withhold final grades over a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA). Over the past several years the cost of living in Santa Cruz has risen an average of 15% per year, yet UC Santa Cruz is offering its graduate student employees a paltry 3% wage increase—a proposal that was subsequently rejected by 85% present at the ratification vote. Like many graduate students across North America, UCSC graduate student workers are struggling to pay for their living expenses, with many workers paying more than half their monthly salary towards rent.
Student employees at McGill also have an administration that is out of touch with the rising cost of living in Montreal. We join our voice with many other organizations and individuals across North America and around the world by calling on the UCSC administration to pay the Cost-of-Living Adjustment of $1,412 a month to all UCSC graduate students. We also condemn the attempts by the UCSC administration to intimidate striking student workers as they fight to improve their quality of life.
The UGSA wildcat strike is a forceful and courageous action in light of UCSC’s hostility towards its graduate student employees. Their strike has inspired other actions in Santa Cruz and across the University of California system. As AGSEM returns to the negotiation table after McGill does not want to counter-offer on any of our monetary proposals, we find inspiration in the actions of our comrades to the south. We encourage the striking UCSC graduate student workers not to give up their fight for a living wage and urge UCSC students and faculty to support the strike.
The Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM) Delegates’ Council and Executive Committee