Thousands of UC Workers Strike
UCSA Congress Meeting at UC BerkeleyThe UCSA held a meeting at UC Berkeley this weekend to discuss the problems it's facing.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Category: News > University > Higher Education
Approximately 400 members and supporters of a local union representing more than 1,200 UC Berkeley employees picketed on campus in the first day of a five-day strike, despite a court-ordered injunction prohibiting it.
The strike on campus is part of a larger effort by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 to renegotiate the contracts of the more than 20,000 patient-care technical and service employees the union represents throughout the 10 UC campuses and five medical centers.
On Monday afternoon, union members and supporters flooded the streets on the southside of campus, temporarily halting traffic as picketers marched in the streets.
According to campus media relations, the demonstrations going on throughout campus have stopped the perimeter bus services and some construction work on campus. However no buildings have been closed and the strike has only caused "minimal disruption overall."
Strikers on campus include dining hall, custodial, eye clinic and maintenance employees on campus. While the strike is primarily over the contracts of service unit employees throughout the system, many patient-care technical employees have honored the strike, according to Kathryn Lybarger, UC Berkeley gardener and an elected bargaining service representative for the union.
The strike takes place despite a court-ordered injunction to prohibit it. San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Mahoney issued an injunction on Friday aimed at halting the strike, citing that the union did not give the university the required 10-day notice of the strike.
The Public Employment Relations Board, the government agency handling the contract negotiations, sought a court injunction along with the university against the strike, citing "bad faith bargaining" in negotiations by the union.
According to UC spokesperson Nicole Savickas, the last time union members met at the bargaining table was on June 27 for patient-care technical employees and June 3 for service employees.
"No agreement can be reached until we meet at the bargaining table," Savickas said, citing that the union has not responded to letters from the university asking for negotiations to resume. "We continue to do what we can to encourage the union to come back to negotiations," Savickas said.
Many union members said they would like to return to the bargaining table but that the university has not met their demands for higher wages. Efren Palabrica, a senior building maintenance worker on campus for 14 years, said he demonstrated to try to win respect from the university for the union.
"They don't look at us the same as upper management," Palabrica said. "I know they respect us, too, but not really 100 percent."
Angelica Dongallo is the News Editor. Contact her at [email protected]
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