The University of California and the union representing tens of thousands of its striking academic workers agreed Friday to ask an independent mediator to intervene in stalled contract negotiations, hoping to reach an agreement to end the month-long walkout that has forced much tumult across the 10-campus system.
UC administrators have for weeks urged 36,000 academic workers represented by the United Auto Workers to enter into voluntary mediation, in which a neutral party would help the two sides resolve ongoing disputes. Bargaining team members voted to move forward with it one day after UC administrators told the union that they would not make any new proposals during negotiations, according to union leaders.
The massive walkout — the nation’s largest ever strike of higher-education academic workers — reached a critical point this week during finals when widespread disruption unfolded throughout the system. Exams were scaled back, study sessions canceled, papers left unread. Faculty — some honoring the pickets and others unable to handle the load alone — are withholding about at least 34,000 grades across the system.
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