On May 23rd, 2008, workers at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and across the entire UC system, announced the almost unanimous vote of “Yes!” to strike to win a fair contract. Workers and students assembled in the Baytree Plaza at UC Santa Cruz to publicize the overwhelmingly affirmative vote to strike for two days from Wednesday, June 4th through Thursday, June 5th. However, the workers, who have been negotiating in good faith since August, still hold hope that a strike can be averted.
The central issue has been that wages have fallen dramatically behind other hospitals (UC has 5 medical centers) and California’s community colleges where workers are paid an average of 25% higher for the same work. For service workers, wages are as low as $10 an hour, forcing many to work 2-3 jobs or rely on public assistance to meet the basic needs of their families.
In this May 23rd recording from the Baytree Plaza at UC Santa Cruz, the historic announcement to strike is read by Rosario Cortes, a Senior Custodian and the MC of this press conference. We also hear from Lilia Reynoso, a 4th year student and active organizer with the Student Worker Coalition for Justice. Bill Monning, Professor of Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and Candidate for the 27th Assembly District, also spoke in support of the workers. Finally we hear from Nicholas Gutierrez, a worker and negotiator on behalf of AFSCME.
But first we begin with Paul Ortiz, a Professor in the Community Studies department, discussing the reputation of UC Santa Cruz.
20,000 UC Workers Announce Strike Vote (May 13th)
Here are some links to photo coverage from previous AFSCME actions from the 2007 – 2008 school year at UCSC:
- Student and Worker Solidarity Kicks Off School Year at UCSC (September 27th, 2007)
- UC Workers and Students Picket in Support of AFSCME’s Contract Fight (December 6th, 2007)
- UCSC Workers Offer New Year Resolutions To Shape Up UC (January 31st, 2008)
- Students and Workers Block Road at UCSC to Protest Poverty Wages (February 28th, 2008)
- Prospective Students of Color Visit UCSC and Demand a Fair Contract for Workers (April 11th, 2008)
- UCSC Reunion Luncheon Interrupted to Demand Fair Wages for Workers (April 26th, 2008)
Crossposted at Indybay.org.