Letters to the Editor: You’re worth it, UC workers. Strike until your demands are met

Striking academic workers walk the picket line at UCLA on Nov. 28.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I worked as a UC Santa Barbara history department teaching assistant (TA) in the 1970s. My experience confirms what UC San Diego professor Lilly Irani writes in her op-ed article, “In the UC strike, professors can’t keep up with grading. Students will suffer.

In the 1970s, we often called on other part-time essential workers to strike, and to win wages reflecting their critical importance to the university’s key mission: educating young human beings. In my years as a TA, I enjoyed leading small-group discussion sections after the magisterial professor had delivered lectures in large auditoriums.

I agree with Irani that University of California President Michael V. Drake needs to come “survey the site of bureaucratic and pedagogical disaster in large classrooms” like those I endured at UC Santa Barbara.


Since UC labor negotiators are apparently in no rush to honor these key workers, and despite the union making concessions, this indifference reveals that the administration, like so many entrenched bureaucracies, is out of touch with the reality of educating undergraduates.

If you don’t care about the financial fate of these 48,000 academic workers at UC, then you have given up on public education. I urge the striking TAs and part-time workers to continue the strike until their demands have been met.

Dan McCaslin, Santa Barbara


To the editor: I had to laugh when Irani complained about having to grade 250 papers if she crossed the picket line. High school English teachers do that regularly in addition to teaching their five classes.

It’s high time that professors get real about what education involves outside the ivory tower.

Walt Gardner, Los Angeles


The writer taught English in L.A. public schools for 28 years.


To the editor: One of your letter writers was right on target when she said that private sector employees “get soaked.” But she was wrong about the reason why.

The exploitation of private sector workers is not the fault of public employee unions. Rather, the problem is the lack of unions and unionized workers in the private sector.

If the letter writer truly wants American workers to have a seat at the corporate table, she should advocate for all unions and unionization, not attack the United Auto Workers, the union that has stepped up and is representing our graduate student workers.

Paul Andersen, Orange