Hands holding sign reading on strike.

This Date in UCSF History: UC Grad Students Strike

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Originally published on December 1, 1998.

Students at the eight other University of California campuses went on strike Tuesday, Dec. 1, in an attempt to win collective bargaining rights for the Association of Graduate Student Employees.

An estimated 6,000 of 9,000 total graduate student teaching assistants left work.

Organizers plan to continue to strike throughout the finals period; students participating will not grade or proctor finals, give review sessions or hold office hours.

UC Berkeley campus officials expressed confidence that the strike will not cause significant disruptions and that finals will be on schedule, though they are allowing student to choose a “Pass/No Pass” grading option for any class affected by the strike.

University administrators contend that the teaching done by graduate students is “part of their education,” not labor subject to the laws entitling workers to be represented by a union.

Administrators take an analogous position with respect to the labor done by interns and residents. UCSF graduate students are in a unique position within the UC system because they do not teach undergraduate classes.

Graduate students at UCSF are typically required to teach for only one quarter, and the teaching load is seen as comparatively light.