UAW strike planning: research and other updates

November 9, 2022
Elizabeth Watkins, Rodolfo Torres, Shaun Bowler, and Ken Baerenklau
November 9, 2022

Dear Colleagues,
Negotiations between UC and the UAW continue. We do not have new information to offer regarding the progress they may have made or the likelihood that a last-minute agreement might be reached, but we are sharing this communication from UCOP that was distributed to campus labor offices for distribution to all individuals in the four bargaining units. In addition, XCITE has published instructional continuity resources here ( that are broadly relevant for campus disruptions. 

The remainder of this update focuses on the research enterprise. Please see the FAQs below. 

Can I ask any of the individuals in my lab about their intention to strike or honor the strike?
No. Do not discuss the potential strike action or solicit any individual worker’s intention. This can be perceived as pressuring them and may potentially violate their employee rights. Assume that all workers called to strike will do so and that other staff and faculty may honor the picket line.

What impacts are anticipated on labs and research sites?
Expect at least a brief, and possibly extended, period when workers in the four bargaining groups will not fulfill their job duties. Some of these workers are in research positions, so it is possible that ongoing research and reporting may be interrupted or delayed. This includes interruptions to regular monitoring and maintenance of living and other time-sensitive research materials. 

What precautions can I take to ensure research continues? 
Ensure that data from experiments are in a secure location that you can access. Make contingency plans for time-sensitive activities, especially if you rely on graduate students for animal or plant care. When possible, alter the sequence of research activities around the strike date (Nov 14th) and subsequent days. Consider that members of the campus community and the public may prefer to work remotely or attend campus events remotely, to avoid crossing picket lines. Consider postponing or offering a hybrid option for meetings, events and symposia. Consider postponing visits from outside guests. Note that deliveries of research supplies/materials may be delayed. Order ahead or plan in case of delays. Contact your collaborators, funders, and other research stakeholders if deadlines may be missed.

Do I stop the pay and/or tuition payments of those who do strike? 
Guidance for faculty/PIs on how to complete payroll certification will be provided by UCOP at a later time, if the strike moves forward. 

Should I cancel lab meetings? 
No. Meetings associated with paid GSR work are likely to see a drop in attendance, but may continue.  

Can graduate students continue working on their own projects? 
Yes. It can sometimes be hard to draw a clear line between student and employee within lab settings. But if a student is on strike and would like to work on their own project, they are free to do so.

Do PIs need to document anything? 
Not at this time.

If a PI gets feedback that a student feels pressured by others, what can or should the PI do? 
The PI should not interfere in the internal relations of the union. Students who feel unduly pressured should report this to their union representatives.