Demonstrators Show Support for Strikers

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Approximately 60 lecturers and clerical workers marched from Sproul Plaza to the chancellor's office yesterday demanding contracts and showing their support for union members on strike at five other UC campuses.

Chanting "What do we want? Contracts! When do we want them? Now!" protesters stood outside California Hall only to face closed doors.

"We want to let Chancellor Berdahl know that we have not gone away, and we have no intention of leaving," said Amatuallah Alaji-Sabrie, a spokesperson for the Coalition of University Employees.

Lecturers at UC campuses in Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Riverside, Irvine and Davis joined striking clerical workers Monday and Tuesday at the same campuses except UC Irvine to protest alleged unfair labor practices by UC.

The Santa Barbara chapter of CUE has organized a continuation of the strike to last until today, said UC Santa Barbara spokesperson Paul Desruisseaux.

"Strikes will only serve to aggravate negotiations and delay contract settlement, which doesn't serve anyone-especially students," said UC spokesperson Paul Schwartz.

The American Federation of Teachers has filed three complaints against UC with the Public Employment Relations Board, a state body that oversees labor relations and arbitrates between the two parties. CUE also has five pending complaints against UC.

In two separate complaints, both AFT and CUE said UC engaged in bad faith bargaining practices.

In August, UC filed a counter-charge against CUE, alleging the union went on strike illegally. The Public Relations Board will address this charge in an informal settlement conference on Nov. 14, said CUE chief negotiator Margy Wilkinson.

But Schwartz said, by emphasizing unfair labor practices, the unions are "attempting to draw attention away from the real contract issue, which is wages."

"CUE's continuing demand for 15 percent wage increases isn't financially realistic given the current budget situation," Schwartz said. "If (the unions) refuse to compromise, then we'll likely be headed for an impasse because we're offering the most that resources allow."

CUE spokespeople also said UC did not abide by a contract that grants career employment to temporary workers who have been working consistently for 18 months.

A UC statement in August denied union charges of unfair labor practices.

CUE's contract complaint is expected to go to an informal settlement conference later this week, Alaji-Sabrie said.

Although university spokespeople from the five UC campuses with striking employees said the work stoppage did not greatly affect classes and health and child-care centers, union spokespeople said the hundreds of strikers and union supporters caused entire departments to cancel classes at some UC campuses.

The UC Santa Cruz campus was largely a "ghost town" yesterday as picketers demonstrated from 5 a.m. until as late as 8 p.m., said Yonatan Katznelson, AFT member and UC Santa Cruz economics lecturer.

At UC Irvine, approximately 400 people, including Irvine Mayor Larry Agran, attended a noon rally. All classes in the political science department at UC Irvine were officially cancelled, said Andrew Tonkovich, president of the Irvine chapter of AFT.


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