February 23, 2024

UCR Starbucks Petition

Over a thousand students at UCLA and UCR have begun protesting against Starbucks locations on their campuses. Los Angeles Daily reports that the students are attempting to remove the locations due to tactics utilized by the coffee corporation to discourage unionization. According to KTLA5, several former Starbucks employees have come forward claiming they were let go because of unionization efforts. The National Labor Relations Board has stated that Starbucks closed six of its stores because of unionization. Starbucks spokesperson Andrew Trull claimed that Starbucks is open to their workers forming lawful unions in a statement released on Jan 29. Students at UCLA will submit over 700 signatures to the board of directors for Associated Students UCLA, while students at UCR will submit theirs on Wednesday, according to KTLA5. Between the two schools, approximately 1,500 signatures will be signed demanding that the universities cease their licensing agreement with the corporation. 

Student Films Infant Shark

The first infant great white shark was allegedly witnessed by UCR biology doctoral student Phillip Sternes and wildlife filmmaker Carlos Gauna. According to UC Riverside News, Sternes was searching for sharks along the coast near Santa Barbara on July 9 when he spotted the pup. Gauna’s drone recorded footage of what appeared to be a young great white shark, but rather than being gray with a white belly, it was completely white. Sternes said the white coloring was because the shark was shedding its embryonic layer, meaning it was a newborn. Sternes spotted several pregnant great whites in the area a few days prior. Until now, no scientist has discovered where great whites mate, meaning this could lead to a breakthrough in shark science. 

Biden Funds Massive Train

President Biden approved $2.5 billion of funding for a railway project on Jan. 23. The program, called the Brightline West High-Speed Rail Project, is a massive 218-mile railroad that will span from Southern California to Las Vegas. Initially, it received a $3 billion grant from the United States Department of Transportation in Dec. 2023, and with the expanded funding, Brightline West announced they will break ground in early 2024. The project is estimated to cost $12 billion to build. Biden’s government funding will be provided in the form of tax-exempt bonds, according to AP News. While there is no confirmed date for when this railway will become fully operational, AP News reports that officials have estimated it will open to the public by the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. Brightline West’s official website released a statement claiming train tickets will be similar to that of gas costs.

CSU Strike Ends in One Day

The historic and massive California State University faculty strike has been cut short, and professors have returned to their jobs. On Monday, Jan. 22, the California Faculty Association declared they were going on strike, due to their inability to secure a 12% increase in wages and other benefits, according to CalMatters. NPR reported over 29,000 faculty members went on strike, making this the only time that the organization has walked out on their jobs at every campus since its formation in 1983. However, the strike would be shortlived, as professors returned to work on Tuesday. AP News reported that the CSU staff reached a “tentative agreement” the same day the strike began. According to the Californian, the CSU faculty managed to secure two raises, one being a 5% raise that was retroactive back to July 2023. The second 5% raise they were promised will go into effect in July 2024.

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