Strike hits 5 UC campuses

    Lecturers and clerical workers at five University of California campuses–Davis, Riverside, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz–walked out of their jobs and into the picket lines for a strike that lasted from Oct. 15 through Oct. 16 to vent their frustrations toward the University of California for engaging in allegedly unfair labor practices. At UC Irvine, only lecturers voted to strike.

    Tyler Huff
    Guardian

    The University Council- American Federation of Teachers, which represents more than 4,000 lecturers on UC campuses, and the Coalition of University Employees, which represents more than 18,000 clerical workers systemwide, organized the two-day strikes.

    The strikes, which mostly affected the Riverside and Santa Cruz campuses, caused the cancellation of numerous classes and induced many offices to operate with minimal staff. Many parcel delivery drivers and construction workers at the five campuses engaged in sympathetic actions by refusing to cross the picket lines and diverting packages to holding facilities, or by taking the day off.

    At UCSD, 20 union members held a one-day “”informational picket”” on Oct. 15 at the Gilman Drive entrance from 7 a.m to about 8:30 a.m. as a sign of support for the striking lecturers and clerical workers at five of the other UC campuses.

    At UC Berkeley, where lecturers and clerical workers briefly went on strike in late August, UC-AFT and C.U.E. union organizers held a “”teach-in”” and passed out flyers sympathizing with union members at the other campuses. At UCLA, an Oct. 15 article in the Daily Bruin reported that UC-AFT members voted this summer to strike, but held off on setting a strike date pending a vote by C.U.E.

    UC-AFT wants the University of California to provide more job security to lecturers who are hired on three-year contracts following a six-year probationary period. Negotiations are scheduled for Oct. 21 and Oct. 22, UC officials said.

    The University of California maintains that its lecturers receive superior benefits and are paid highly competitive salaries when compared with many better-endowed institutions such as Santa Clara University, Stanford University and the University of Southern California.

    Lecturers teach 25 to 30 percent of courses and make up about 12 percent of the total UC faculty, according to UC officials.

    Fred Lonidier, president of the Local 2034 of UC-AFT and a UCSD visual arts professor, said the groups passed out nearly 700 leaflets in support of the strikes on the other campuses.

    Picketing with UC-AFT, C.U.E. wants the University of California to approve a 15-percent pay increase to the salaries of clerical workers at all UC campuses. C.U.E. and the university have been in contract negations for over a year.

    The University of California is currently offering C.U.E. a 2-percent increase in salary rather than the 15-percent increase the union wants, according to Sally Hampton, a library assistant at Geisel Library and president of Local 5 of C.U.E.

    Hampton said her union wants a 15-percent increase to bring UC clerical worker salaries on par with the private sector and the California State University system. She does not agree with the university’s current offer.

    “”My sense is that it’s totally unacceptable, considering the amount of wealth available,”” Hampton said.

    UC officials cite the downturn in the economy as a limiting factor when deciding whether to increase salaries.

    While most UC campuses were affected by the two-day strike, union members at San Diego did not vote to strike. Lonidier and Hampton separately said neither of their unions was prepared to join the two-day strike.

    “”We’re not able to strike — neither C.U.E. nor us,”” Lonidier said, citing a recent change in leadership in both unions. “”We’d like to, believe me.””

    UC police officers were on hand to keep traffic moving through the Gilman Drive and Osler Lane intersection, while picketers stood on the sidewalks and handed out flyers. No arrests or citations were issued, according to police.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal