The UC patient care and service worker fight is not only a fight for workers but also a fight for students, professors, faculty and Californian families. AFSCME 3299 service and patient care workers will participate in a one day Unfair Labor Practice Strike on November 20th. UCSD ‘s Strike Committee has also organized a student solidarity strike in response to tuition increases and the downfall of the quality in education. The strike is also a direct response to the current transportation crisis that threatens to increase transportation cost for both students and workers and also to voice UCSD’s student’s freedom of expression and discontent with the removal and policing of Graffiti Hall. On Thursday, January 31, 2013, the contract for thousands of janitors, cooks, gardeners and shuttle drivers on all UC campus’ and medical centers ended. Currently at UCSD, there are hundreds of employed custodians who are fighting for fair retirement benefits, safe staffing standards, and sustainable living wages. The struggle for equal worker rights and dignified working conditions has been a long battle for our fellow workers at UCSD. Simultaneously, students have been struggling to end the UC’s increase of fees and tuition and to also keep UC affordable to all students. The Unfair Labor Practice Strike on November 20th is a call for action for workers, students, professors, faculty and families to take back the UC system and demand access and affordability to education and economic mobility for all Californians.
How can you support?
How does the UCSD service worker struggle affect the state of California?
The UC system employs more than 20,000 workers which represent custodians, food service workers, cooks, bus drivers, licensed vocational nurses, nursing assistants, medical assistants and techs.
- Of those 20,000 workers, service workers are the lowest paid employees of the UC system, 99% of whom are eligible for public assistance.
- At the same time 700 of the UC’s highest paid employees, who make more than the president of the United States, just received a 3% pay increase.
A study released by the Center on Policy Initiatives and United Way of San Diego County, measured local costs of housing, child care, food and other basic expenses to determine a bare-bones budget for various-sized families.
- A single person with no dependents needs a full-time job paying at least $13.13 an hour, or $27,733 a year, to meet basic expenses.
- UC service workers wages range from $ 10,600-$21,464, which falls short to even meet basic expenses for a single person.
Conclusion: The UC system is limiting access to education for Californians, therefore, funneling more high school graduates into minimum wage jobs. The UC is also creating poverty and increasing the gap between the rich and poor. If the UC system gave it’s workers a living wage it would not only provide a pathway out of poverty for many families struggling to meet ends meet but it would overall create a more robust and stable consumer economy.
Why should UCSD Students, professors, Faculty and Families strike on Nov. 20th?
- Since 2002, in- state tuition of at the UC has more than tripled.
- Class sizes have increased, courses have been cut by as much as 11%
- Counseling and library hours have been reduced
- Under staffing is prevalent in many UCSD departments
- Students are forced to live in overcrowded rooms, up to 15 persons in one suite
- Transportation negotiations could lead to increase cost in transportation
- Removal of Graffiti Hall, Removal of CLICS library, what next?
- The list goes on…
What UCSD service workers face:
The average age of UCSD workers is 45 plus years and many are women of color, working two jobs to support their families.
- UCSD has reduced workers’ lunch break from 1 hour to 30 minutes, and many workers are now unable to rest and are forced to eat their lunch cold as a result of the time constraint.
- UC workers are forced to work longer hours without financial compensation
- Workers are being threatened by more expensive and less efficient transportation.
- 1.5% pay cut in their salaries to pay for pensions
- Reduced in health benefits
- They work tirelessly, for hours with no time for breaks and under constant supervision.
- Injuries on the job have increased due to understaffing
- Break rooms are rare, many eat or take their breaks if they get a chance to in storage rooms/ laundry rooms filled with chemicals and cleaning supplies.