NEWS & LETTERS, July-August 2005

UC workers’ strike

Oakland, Cal.--Coalition of University Employees (CUE), representing 16,000 of the lowest paid workers, mostly women and people of color, at University of California, staged a three-day strike. On June 15 picketers from campuses all over the state filled the street in front of the UC administration building in downtown Oakland.

UC administration is more and more looking at its working people as the enemy. They declared an impasse in negotiations for the agreement for 2003-04 and went to a fact finder. The fact finder found that UC can afford to grant pay raises to clericals, but UC ignored the report. In 2004 two-thirds of the $20 million allocated for raises went back to the general fund. We have not had a pay raise for three years.

Ordinarily I would not walk a picket line for a short time strike. It won’t do a lot. We don’t have the whole membership behind us. We need to raise awareness for union support and for the talks. AFSCME took a deal in May that UC is trying to force now on others. They agreed that raises be contingent on getting money from the legislature, but UC gets only 17% of its revenue from state funding. How can a prominent institution like UC treat its workers so poorly?

--UC Davis clerical worker

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