UC San Diego graduate workers file complaints of retaliation
Unionized academic workers (UAW) won a new contract in late December. Now, more University of California academic workers are saying they are the victims of retaliation by some professors in the wake of last year's strike.
At least 20 graduate student workers have filed grievances, claiming they are still being punished illegally for going on strike. Most of the claims are coming from UC San Diego.
The UC San Diego graduate researchers and teaching assistants claim they were given unsatisfactory grades that could threaten their college careers.
Daniel Primosch is one of the thousands of UC academic workers who struck for higher pay and better working conditions. Many of the researchers and teaching assistants walked the picket lines and did not report for their class assignments during the strike.
That got Primosch and 20 of his fellow UAW members grades of "U" for "Unsatisfactory" from their team leaders.
“A 'U' (grade), especially with the amount of credits I was signed up with, would take me out of good standing, and put a hold on my account and keep me from work as a researcher," Primosch said.
Professors accused of the retaliation have denied they did anything wrong, saying the striking workers did not fulfill their assignment obligations while on the picket lines.
Ahmed Akhtar is a union leader who was part of the bargaining team for Student Researchers United.
"We’re currently fighting all of the unsatisfactory grades. We’ve started a grievance process for all of the workers who were retaliated against. We’re also organizing on campus to put direct pressure on the university to step in and make sure these workers are protected," said Akhtar.
Hannah Castro is a first year graduate student and teaching assistant in the UCSD Chemistry department. She received an unsatisfactory grade for the fall semester, and is not happy with the university's response to the allegations.
“They are way happier to support their professors when it’s very clear that they are doing something very illegal like in this situation. They won’t acknowledge that (UAW) are a very important part of the UC ecosystem," said Castro.
If the unsatisfactory grades stay on the record, those graduate students could lose their jobs in late March when the spring quarter begins.