We, the undersigned faculty of the Department of Chicana/o and Central American Studies at UCLA, express our full support for our graduate students in their ongoing contract negotiations with the University of California. At the “#1” public university in the country, we should prioritize the well-being of all our members. Academic workers, including teaching assistants, tutors, postdoctoral, undergraduate, and graduate student researchers facilitate the learning of our students, create knowledge, and help us more broadly meet the mission of the public university.
In our department, where graduate students largely come from working-class backgrounds and are the first in their families to go to college, they play a key role in educating, supporting, building community with, and serving as role models to undergraduates who are also often first-gen. As scholars who often share these backgrounds, we are committed to helping them thrive in this profession. Their economic stability is key to such an endeavor.

The cost of living in Los Angeles is high and our graduate students often juggle multiple jobs while experiencing precarious living conditions just to be able to afford rent and attend school. Such conditions are likely to hinder their best work while extending their time-to-degree and their precarity for much too long. We urge the University to proceed fairly in negotiations and to do what is in its power to increase academic worker salaries that better match their needs.

We also support our students’ call for transit and climate justice, childcare support, job security guarantees, equity for international and disabled scholars, and protections against abusive conduct. We pledge not to retaliate against academic workers in UAW 2865, UAW 5810, and SRU-UAW who participate in strike actions and stand in solidarity with all students and staff who do the same.

In solidarity,

Leisy Abrego
Chris Zepeda-Millan
Genevieve Carpio
Jason De Leon
Laura Chávez-Moreno
Robert Chao Romero
Matt A. Barreto
Otto Santa Ana
Alicia Gaspar de Alba
Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda
Maylei Blackwell
Charlene Villaseñor Black
Hector Calderón
Floridalma Boj Lopez
Eric Avila
Gaye Johnson
Karina Alma