UC Berkeley students hold ‘wildcat’ strike for more pay, rehiring of fired workers

By Natalie Orenstein

March 16, 2020

UC Berkeley will become familiar with term “digital picket” this week, as graduate students, who are already working from home because of the coronavirus, begin a work stoppage Monday.

The student workers are going on a “wildcat” strike — meaning it hasn’t been authorized by UAW 2865, the UC graduate student union representing some 19,000 workers — to demand cost-of-living pay adjustments and the rehiring of dozens of their counterparts who have been fired from UC Santa Cruz.

“In the Bay Area and across California, wages are stagnating compared to the cost of living,” said Helen, a Ph.D. student in engineering and an organizer of the wildcat strike. She said the organizers are not revealing their last names publicly over a fear of retaliation.

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