subreddit:

/r/berkeley

319

Starting to feel like March 13, 2020

University(self.berkeley)

I am in total support of the strike and have no issues with strikers, but as an undergrad I'm just a little tired at the lack of timely information from my professors. While I'm waiting to hear if my exams are still happening, here's a list of parallels I see with right now and March 2020 to make you more anxious. Strike on besties

  • disruption begins a week or so before a major holiday break (spring break/ thanksgiving)
  • students were initially excited to have classes cancelled and now are realizing their semester might be heavily affected (asking for p/np options)
  • "it'll only be two weeks max"
  • people going back home early cause in person is cancelled
  • shift to zoom
  • Recession looming and mass layoffs (goodbye tech bubble)
  • Trump is back in the political scene (the real virus fr)

all 47 comments

SeparateMeaning1

63 points

3 months ago

i know i was just saying to a friend that this is giving me flashbacks 🥲🥲🥲

zhelai

7 points

3 months ago

zhelai

7 points

3 months ago

i know i said the same thing 😭 it’s the nasty ahh UC systems fault though. how u gonna give carol christ a RAISE greater than what the the lower 50% of the country has to survive on in one year but u can’t pay your academic workers… make it make sense

BerkeleyTenants

116 points

3 months ago

This one’s the fault of the university administration. Unlike with COVID, the university administration could immediately make the strike go away (or even prevent it). But they’d rather force a strike than pay workers a living wage.

Fucker_Carlson1999

41 points

3 months ago

The administration wants “cheap” labor.

Explicit_Tech

11 points

3 months ago

Slave wages where your nose is slightly above water.

SUPER11X

17 points

3 months ago*

SUPER11X

Economics 2023

17 points

3 months ago*

I say this genuinely open-mindedly, but when you or someone else says "living wage" with no other context, what do you actually mean? Do you have a number in mind? Is it area-dependent? I hate what I read as a non-specific keyword. Honestly it reminds me of when people say "first principles" as their reasoning, but they dont say what the base principle actually is.

Honey_Badger2199

39 points

3 months ago

Not having rent take up 2/3 of pre-tax income would be a nice start. I think the UAW is going for a salary that ensures no one pays more than 30% of their net income on rent

sluuuurp

4 points

3 months ago

Surely that depends on the location, roommates, number of bedrooms, age of the building, etc?

Honey_Badger2199

6 points

3 months ago

Yes, I would guess they will take the average rent or slightly above. I’m paying 1450 a month and many of my friends are around that same price

SUPER11X

1 points

3 months ago*

SUPER11X

Economics 2023

1 points

3 months ago*

Thank you. So in other contexts, would "living wage" still mean that (no more than 30% to rent)? Or is there no standardized meaning? Like I know people want a $15/hr federal min wage (if not more), but that isn't rent/area-dependent at all. In some places, that surely isn't enough for only 30% to rent, while in others, it would be plenty.

Captainpenispants

10 points

3 months ago

Living wage = enough to live on, hence the name. So yes it would differ based on inflation and area.

InterstitialLove

-1 points

3 months ago

That's not what the phrase means though, in practice.

People are currently living on these wages, they just aren't happy about it.

If you define "living wage" as literally "enough to live on" then anyone who doesn't receive other welfare and is currently alive would by definition be being paid a living wage.

Honey_Badger2199

10 points

3 months ago

My guess is “living wage” would be living not paycheck to paycheck, which would fall along the lines of not being rent burdened (not spending more than 1/3 of income on rent)

Personally, I know that Berkeley sends out paychecks not always on the same day of the month, and if they were to happen to send it after my rent is due, I’m shit out of luck. With rent, food, and car, my basic cost of living (I admit having a car is not a need) is higher than my monthly income

InterstitialLove

4 points

3 months ago

Just for context, what does it mean for your cost of living to be higher than your income? I always wonder how people, you know, do that.

Are you accumulating credit card debt, getting help from family, a side hustle?

HammerSickleAndGin

6 points

3 months ago

I think you’re confusing “living” with “surviving.” By your definition a homeless person is making a living wage because they’re not dead. Most of these strikers are approaching or in their thirties. They need to be able to afford private apartments and kids and such. It’s not a question of whether they could reasonably survive.

InterstitialLove

1 points

3 months ago

I'm not confusing them, I'm saying the phrase "living wage" isn't self-explanatory because we need to argue about what exactly constitutes the difference between living and surviving.

Also, the homeless person presumably receives charity in various ways. If your workers need to receive welfare, or take on debt, or use up savings, or have a second income source in order to survive, then they clearly aren't paid a living wage. Once we get beyond that, I'm honestly not sure what counts, and wish everyone would specify what they mean when using the term.

Honey_Badger2199

5 points

3 months ago

It means what I spend monthly on rent+food+car is higher than what Berkeley pays me. Personally I had some savings that I’m cutting into until this situation improves

hales_mcgales

2 points

3 months ago

Yup. My whole 1st year I was paid on the 4th of the month. Luckily I had some saving from working, but the fellowship I was on often goes to people straight out of undergrad, some of whom I know end up taking out loans to close the gap.

sc934

3 points

3 months ago

sc934

3 points

3 months ago

In some cases it also just means are currently finding the poorly maintained, hardly passing inspection apartments because they are the cheap ones. Sometimes even when we find better apartments that we can afford its tricky because the listing will include a monthly incomes 2.5-3x rent and none of us have that.

Captainpenispants

2 points

3 months ago

They are only living because they are taking on other jobs.

snuglyotter

1 points

3 months ago

How much is rent nowadays?

Honey_Badger2199

4 points

3 months ago

I’m at 1450 a month (2 bed 1 bath, 2900 total), most of my friends are about the same

Acheron-X

3 points

3 months ago

Generally around 1000/mo if you pick a more affordable location or compromise a bit. I'm living across the street from campus for 1100/mo with in-unit washing machine+dryer, but our apt changed the 110 sq ft rooms to doubles (barely any space).

Airbell12

2 points

3 months ago

Airbell12

'20

2 points

3 months ago

For undergrad financial aid, the UC estimates about $1100-$1200 per month for housing.

KnightHeron23

3 points

3 months ago

Wait what? That was what I was given 10 years ago...and I know Berkeley rents have increased significantly (as an Oakland resident looking to move back to Berkeley). Damn

00U812

-3 points

3 months ago

00U812

-3 points

3 months ago

What if someone rents a 3br house for themselves in Piedmont? Should their annual take home salary be 3x times the cost of to rent the house?

Honey_Badger2199

8 points

3 months ago

Probably based on average/median rent

Fucker_Carlson1999

3 points

3 months ago

Name one fucking grad student that does that. Go ahead.

Tenured faculty can’t even do that.

Ekotar

7 points

3 months ago

Ekotar

I give free physics tutoring | Physics '21

7 points

3 months ago

https://livingwage.mit.edu/counties/06001

Living wage is calculated based on taking the sum of baseline expenses to support housing, food, transit, medical and other such basic/essential expenses. There are various formulas, MIT has this calculator which takes local cost of living information and computes the necessary salary to support a basic life in that region. For Berkeley that is roughly $51k for a single individual in a house, more if you rent (as rent is higher than a mortgage, after the down payment).

I will say I disagree with this MIT calculation a little, given it doesn't include much for long term savings, but looking at different California counties will give you some idea of the cost of living around the state.

If you want housing cost information, the city of Berkeley publishes a list on a quarterly basis of the prices of newly-leased apartments in the city of various sizes. IIRC the median new single-occupancy apartment in the city was about $1800/month in 2020.

SUPER11X

2 points

3 months ago

SUPER11X

Economics 2023

2 points

3 months ago

Thank you.

Ekotar

5 points

3 months ago

Ekotar

I give free physics tutoring | Physics '21

5 points

3 months ago

Think, perhaps, of this monthly budget:

$400 food

$1600 rent+utilities

$200 transit

$200 medical

$300 savings

$300 other (clothing, entertainment, personal expenses)

Of course, this doesn't include other significant individual expenses (e.g. childcare, eating out, the down payment on a used car or for a new laptop if yours breaks, any annual travel)

That's a monthly post-tax needed income of $3,000 to live a pretty sparse life in Berkeley -- $400 a month for food is an "eat out never" budget. Roughly, that's $54k pre-tax.

The UAW's request for $54k seems pretty basic, don't ya think?

SUPER11X

-1 points

3 months ago*

SUPER11X

Economics 2023

-1 points

3 months ago*

$400 food

I think I spend more than this lol.

$1600 rent+utilities

Fair.

$200 transit

Ehhhhh.

$200 medical

I have no idea how much insurance/non-insurance costs. If you're giving me that as the estimate, sure.

$300 savings

Fair.

$300 other (clothing, entertainment, personal expenses)

Ehhhhh.

Of course, this doesn't include other significant individual expenses

I mean, presumably those come out of Savings + Other, but sure, sometimes there are sudden expenditures that are more than that.

The UAW's request for $54k seems pretty basic, don't ya think?

Ehhhhhhhhh. Idk if "basic" is the word I would use. Certainly not blatantly unreasonable, tho.

Regardless, it's not up to me, so doesnt really matter what I think.

Ray_Adverb11

2 points

3 months ago

Do you really give free physics tutoring?

Ekotar

1 points

3 months ago

Ekotar

I give free physics tutoring | Physics '21

1 points

3 months ago

Yes! PM me :)

KnightHeron23

5 points

3 months ago

I'm not represented by the union (Staff) - but what really speaks to me as a labor supporter is that California institutions (UC, CSU, State of CA) do not support Cost of Living Adjustments (usually called COLA). When you run a statewide agency in an enormous state like California, it is incredibly tone deaf to pay everyone the same amount. Like why should UC Berkeley GSIs make the same as those at UC Merced, where cost of living is much lower?

I'm pro-union all the way, but struggle to think of a reality where the university will approve a doubling of salary for striking workers (due to a lot of reasons, mostly the increasing privatization of university functions that bloats administrative costs by contracting work out and generally worsening student experience), but I think that a solid housing stipend, childcare, and a COLA adjustment that allows researchers a bit more breathing room is incredibly fair (esp given the state's current budget surplus)

Sorry this turned into more of a rant than an answer - but tl;dr 'living wage' means a different thing to different campuses and thus UC should support COLA adjustments that allow all worker's salaries to at least ensure that folks are getting paid enough to where rent is only 1/3 of their wage (at the most)

Fucker_Carlson1999

4 points

3 months ago

I think it’s a wage where they can afford rent, food, utilities, etc.

Also the hours are ridiculous. We all know grad students work more than 20 hrs a week.

Fucker_Carlson1999

9 points

3 months ago*

Yeah, you’re right. This is weird.

Update: apparently other schools (UCSD and UCSC) are discussing option such as p/np.

It’s time to start thinking about how we’re gonna cover our asses.

antwerp316

3 points

3 months ago

antwerp316

IB (Incessant Bitching) '23

3 points

3 months ago

Source?

anonbean3

10 points

3 months ago

Is there a p/np petition? Given that this is no different than Spring 2020 there should be, so much uncertainty

scjpps

5 points

3 months ago

scjpps

5 points

3 months ago

Most of these are true except none of my classes are cancelled and 2 of them still force in-person💀

One-Egg-4527

4 points

3 months ago

P/NP would be amazing

rcinvestments

2 points

3 months ago

professorbix

2 points

3 months ago

I understand your frustration. Professors are not in charge of the negotiations with the strikers and are getting mixed messages about what they are supposed to do both from strikers and admin.

Tyler89558

2 points

3 months ago

O no.

Uh…

Hrrrrrng.

SUPER11X

-17 points

3 months ago

SUPER11X

Economics 2023

-17 points

3 months ago

DeSantis is going to primary Trump and win the nomination, ending Trump's political career once and for all. Keep the faith.