Workers are facing a massive crisis, and the choices made now will shape our future. How can we make our voices heard?
From the UC administration to the US federal government, the response of the powerful to the COVID-19 crisis has forced the most vulnerable to suffer the greatest burden. Public higher education in California faces $54.4 billion in budget cuts compared to 2019-2020. UC has threatened to raise students’ tuition even higher to offset budget shortfalls. Low-wage workers across the UC have been furloughed and laid-off. International students and workers, who pay the highest tuition and fees to attend the UC, have been targeted by ICE with discriminatory visa regulations, and have been told that they are ineligible to work if they cannot enter the US. The UC has pushed forward with plans for in-person research and instruction despite a lack of comprehensive health and safety protocol.
What will a just recovery look like?
As the COVID-19 public health crisis and the economic recession threaten to devastate our communities, workers are banding together to fight back. While corporate interests and corrupt politicians use the crisis as an opportunity to shore up their wealth and power, workers and students are fighting for a just recovery that truly serves the people: a fight for the public.
Resisting austerity and improving the lives of working people across California will take fighting on the following fronts:
1. Fighting for public education:
- No budget cuts or salary freezes
- No layoffs
- No tuition hikes
- No permanent expansion of online education
2. Building an equitable society:
- Income replacement and unemployment benefits for pandemic-affected workers
- Living wages, cost-of-living adjustments, and strong collective bargaining rights
- Healthcare for all
- Paid medical leave for all
- Affordable housing for all: read about the Rental Affordability Act ballot initiative here!
3. Divesting from billionaires, police, and prisons:
- Tax corporations and the ultra-wealthy
- Shift money away from police and prison budgets toward services that help, not harm
- Reinvest in working class communities: read about the Schools and Communities First ballot initiative here!
4. Defending international and immigrant workers:
- No travel bans, visa restrictions, or anti-immigrant measures
- No kicking out international student-workers
- No tuition discrimination against international student-workers: end Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition (NRST) at the UC
5. Ending systemic racism:
- Defund and disarm UC police
- Keep our public schools police-free
- Reinstitute affirmative action in higher education admissions: read about the Opportunity for All ballot initiative here!
Winning in November
The California working class has an opportunity this November to make significant gains at the polls. A number of statewide ballot initiatives, if passed, will invest state funds into public goods and expand the housing, voting, and employment rights of millions of workers, students, and communities of color. UAW 2865 members have voted to endorse and fight for the following: