Echoing broader concerns in the arts and higher-education sectors, staff believe representation will help win raises as cost-of-living, namely housing and commuting costs, outpaces wage growth in the Bay Area. Organizers also stressed that unionizing benefits students through stabilizing the workforce.
“We are grateful that a large percentage of the voters exercised their democratic rights, which is the outcome that was of primary importance to the college,” CCA said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with staff to make CCA an excellent learning environment for our students and the community.”
The administration has claimed neutrality towards the staff unionizing, but distributed a document casting doubts on its benefits. Organizers said leadership sowed confusion about union eligibility in an attempt to undermine the effort.
After nearly three years organizing, SEIU helped adjunct faculty ratify their first union contract in 2017.
Founded in Berkeley in 1907, California College of the Arts enrolls some 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students of art, architecture and design and operates the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts.