Unions Voice Dissent Against Yudof

Photo: Paul Haller, a former psychology lab assistant, encourages passersby to submit votes of
Nick Fradkin/Staff
Paul Haller, a former psychology lab assistant, encourages passersby to submit votes of "no confidence" for UC President Mark Yudof. Voting will continue until next Wednesday.

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UC Union Members Hold No-Confidence Vote

On Thursday, UC Berkeley Union members held a no-confidence vote to voice dissaproval towards UC President Mark Yudof's handling of the budget.

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Union leaders at UC Berkeley began collecting ballots yesterday for a no-confidence vote on UC President Mark Yudof as part of a six-day long political demonstration at the UC campuses.

Spearheaded near campus Thursday by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union and continuing until next Wednesday, the vote was organized by university unions in response to Yudof's handling of the university's budget crisis.

"We don't think that his alternatives of resolving the economical issues right here in the UC system is the right one," said Maricruz Manzanarez, a campus custodian and AFSCME Local 3299 organizer.

Manzanarez said that union volunteers collected more than 300 votes from Berkeley yesterday and will continue collecting more in the next few days before the results of the systemwide vote are announced Sept. 3. The vote began at UC San Francisco on Wednesday.

Whatever the outcome of the no-confidence vote, it will hold no official weight in removing Yudof from office or changing university policies. Union leaders said they hope it will act as a political statement and attract the attention of students and California tax-payers.

However, UC spokesperson Steve Montiel referred to the vote as a "distraction."

"We see this as another stunt, one of another series of diversionary stunts choreographed by union leaders who refuse to accept the reality that

everyone else in the university system has stepped up to share the pain of cuts triggered by the state financial crisis," Montiel said.

Three voting locations near campus were manned for several hours by union members on their work breaks, in addition to locations at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University Village. AFSCME provided all the materials, such as ballots, flyers and posters.

The majority of passersby ignored the orange and green fliers

offered to them by union volunteers, at Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue. Some said that they approached the ballot table to show solidarity at a time when everyone in the UC system is being negatively affected by the cuts.

"I voted today because I think students are not always heard," said senior Miriam Martinez. "It's just not fair for us because this affects everyone one way or another."

Junior Trish Allred, a geography major, admitted that she was not very familiar with the union's situation, but after she spoke with a union volunteer, Allred decided to vote.

"Definitely I think there's a misappropriation of where education money should be spent," she said. "Whatever is the real truth about this situation would actually be rooted based on facts, in evidence, and that people can actually stand up for what is the real story."

Angelica Dongallo is the university news editor. Contact her at [email protected]

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