Seventeen academic workers on strike were arrested at a University of California administrative office in Sacramento, as a system-wide worker strike across all 10 campuses enters its fourth week.
The arrests, which occurred after some workers staged a sit-in at the university president's office, took place while 2,000 striking workers gathered outside for a march and rally at the state capitol building.
The workers are asking the university system for higher wages, improved leave for parents and caregivers as well as childcare support.
Workers are saying the university is not supporting its diverse workforce, which they say undermines the quality of research and education. They also say compensation does not match the cost of living in California and claim the inequitable working conditions are pushing scholars out of academia.
"I’m engaging in this act of civil disobedience because the stakes are incredibly high, and the UC is not demonstrating that they understand that," Jess Banks, a member of the bargaining team at UC Berkeley, said in a statement. "UC thinks they can end negotiations and send us back to work, but this strike will continue until they stop breaking the law and settle a fair contract."
Academic researchers and postdocs reached a tentative agreement with the university system on Nov. 28. Workers will be voting on whether to ratify the contract through Friday.
Academic researchers and postdocs said they would continue the strike in solidarity with academic student employees and student researchers who have not yet voted to ratify proposed agreements.
The university system made a new wage proposal to academic student employees and student researchers on Dec. 2 that has not tentatively been agreed to.
"Instead of bargaining in good faith, the University of California has forced their workers to take drastic action to call attention to their unfair labor practices and unlivable wages. Our living conditions are unacceptable considering the UC is one of the largest employers in the state. We will not stop until we receive fair contracts," Elias Bunting, a student researcher in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Davis, said in a statement.