20,000 Strike at University of California
AFSCME Local strikes over race-based pay and administrators who refuse to negotiate with the union
More than 20,000 members of AFSCME Local 3299 are walking the picket line, shutting down the University of California campuses for the second straight day.
The strike, which includes custodians, gardeners, cooks, truck drivers, lab technicians and nurse aides, has forced classes to be canceled, limited food service on campus, and has forced the university’s hospitals to reschedule treatments and operations. Workers called the three-day strike after negotiations on a new contract reached an impasse. The union says that they are fighting for an agreement on wage increases, health premiums, and retirement terms. They are also fighting rampant racism within the university system. A recent study conducted by Local 3299 found that starting salaries for black and Latino workers were about 20% lower than for whites in similar positions.
Local 3299 has been joined on the picket line by the 14,000 members of the California Nurses Association and the 15,000 members of the University Professional & Technical Employees. All three unions work on the campuses of the United States largest public university and college system.
Unfortunately, not everyone has agreed to respect the local’s picket lines. At UCLA police arrested a man after he intentionally drove his car into the picket line. Three staff members were injured in the attack.
“They are actively seeking out to hire contract workers in favor of directly employed workers simply because they are cheaper and that is driving inequality,” said AFSCME Spokesperson John de los Angeles.
The strike is scheduled to end on Wednesday.