UCSC Graduates Demand Equal Pay for Equal Work! 

 

Our monthly wage is $2434 before tax. This monthly wage is only for the 9 months of the year for which we are employed, totaling $21,906 before tax. We make the same wage as grad students at UC Riverside. But Santa Cruz is one of the least affordable counties for renters in the country.

 

We demand a Cost of Living Adjustment for every* graduate student to bring us:

 

1. Out of rent burden; and

2. To parity with grad students at UC Riverside.

 

At current rates, this amounts to an additonal $1,412 per month.** The COLA must be adjusted annually to keep up with the rental market. 

 

Adjusting salaries for the cost of living is common in private and public sector jobs in California.

 

When we say “Equal Pay for Equal Work,” we mean that we want our real wages to match the wages paid to graduate students at UC Riverside. Right now, our nominal wages are obviously the same as Riverside. Nominally (that is, in name), we are paid $2434 a month before tax just as they are. However, when you factor in the purchasing power of the wage in these two places (for example, the purchasing power needed to comfortably pay rent), then our real wages are much lower than those at Riverside. 

 

The national rate of inflation, measured by the Consumer Price Index, is often used as an indicator of how the national wages may be really stagnating even if they seem to be nominally increasing. When we ask for a COLA to bring us out to wage parity with Riverside and out of rent burden, we are simply choosing median rent rather than the Consumer Price Index as an indicator of the gap between nominal and real wages. The demand for COLA is a demand for the UC Boss to account for the uneven economic geography in which it employs its workers. 

 

COLA is also a demand to recognize the precarity of our seasonal unemployment as graduate student workers, who make a monthly wage of $2434 but an annual wage of $21,906, because the UC Boss only employs us for 9 months out of the year. 

 

*Regardless of residence, visa, documentation, employment or funding status

 **Sharing a two- or three-bedroom apartment, based on median rental figures from April 2018 - August 2019 (source: Zillow Rental Index)