Service Workers Strike At UC Davis

This morning, across the state thousands of service workers went on strike against the UC system seeking higher wages than the $10 per hour many currently receive. This despite efforts by PERB and UC to stop the strike. Last Friday, a judge issued an injunction to prevent the union from striking until at least July 22, 2008 due to supposed lack of notice.

The union in a release responded:

In an effort to prevent UC workers from standing up for their families, the University sought to stop the strike by going to court. Friday a judge said that workers could not go on strike unless they had given the University the exact strike dates with enough notice. Since UC was served notice of the planned strike dates on Thursday, workers clearly had met the judge’s requirements and expect to prevail in court. UC’s legal action on the eve of the strike was a clear attempt to shift attention away from its refusal to improve poverty wages.”

The workers, who do everything from cleaning and disinfecting hospitals and dorm rooms, to providing cafeteria service to patients and students, to ensuring hospitals and campuses are secure, have been negotiating in good faith with UC executives for almost a year. They have remained deadlocked over poverty wages for months.

According to a release from AFSCME yesterday:

Many are forced to take second jobs or go on public assistance just to meet their families’ basic needs. Skyrocketing gas and food prices has deepened the crisis for UC families that are already living paycheck to paycheck. Typically, service workers live in low income communities farther away from campus, forcing a longer commute and higher fuel costs that use a disproportionate portion of their budget.

Poverty wages not only affect workers and their families, but UC executives are pushing the costs of paying poverty wages onto California taxpayers in a difficult budget year. Roughly 96% are eligible for at least one of the following taxpayer-funded program: food stamps, WIC, public housing subsidies, and subsidized child care.

UC wages are dramatically lower than other hospitals and California’s community colleges, which pay 25% higher wages on average. In addition, UC insist on passing on benefit costs, pushing families deeper into poverty. When workers have stood up for better lives for their families and better working conditions, the University has retaliated by violating labor laws.

The Vanguard joined several workers at 5:00 am this morning as they shut down a number of construction sites on campus. This particular site was shut down by just three picketers as construction workers refused to cross the picket lines.

UPDATE AT NOON

It is beginning to get warm outside, but the strike is going strong. Here are the latest photos from Russell and College where as many as 100 striking workers were marching on the four corners of the intersection.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

Author

  • David Greenwald

    Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Categories:

Labor Issues

168 comments

  1. Just curious, since the Enterprise article wasn’t real clear on this.
    How much of a pay increase (%) are the workers demanding? How much has the admin offered?

  2. Just curious, since the Enterprise article wasn’t real clear on this.
    How much of a pay increase (%) are the workers demanding? How much has the admin offered?

  3. Just curious, since the Enterprise article wasn’t real clear on this.
    How much of a pay increase (%) are the workers demanding? How much has the admin offered?

  4. Just curious, since the Enterprise article wasn’t real clear on this.
    How much of a pay increase (%) are the workers demanding? How much has the admin offered?

  5. I don’t believe $10/hour is a poverty wage. That may sound insensitive, and I’m sure it’s hard to live a happy life at $10/hour, but this is not The Jungle we’re talking about.

    There are plenty of students and others who would be willing to work these jobs (part-time) for less than $10/hour. These people who are striking are not going to get what they want. The university will start hiring people who don’t mind getting paid $10/hour and then these people who are striking will be in real poverty, without a job.

  6. I don’t believe $10/hour is a poverty wage. That may sound insensitive, and I’m sure it’s hard to live a happy life at $10/hour, but this is not The Jungle we’re talking about.

    There are plenty of students and others who would be willing to work these jobs (part-time) for less than $10/hour. These people who are striking are not going to get what they want. The university will start hiring people who don’t mind getting paid $10/hour and then these people who are striking will be in real poverty, without a job.

  7. I don’t believe $10/hour is a poverty wage. That may sound insensitive, and I’m sure it’s hard to live a happy life at $10/hour, but this is not The Jungle we’re talking about.

    There are plenty of students and others who would be willing to work these jobs (part-time) for less than $10/hour. These people who are striking are not going to get what they want. The university will start hiring people who don’t mind getting paid $10/hour and then these people who are striking will be in real poverty, without a job.

  8. I don’t believe $10/hour is a poverty wage. That may sound insensitive, and I’m sure it’s hard to live a happy life at $10/hour, but this is not The Jungle we’re talking about.

    There are plenty of students and others who would be willing to work these jobs (part-time) for less than $10/hour. These people who are striking are not going to get what they want. The university will start hiring people who don’t mind getting paid $10/hour and then these people who are striking will be in real poverty, without a job.

  9. “These people who are striking are not going to get what they want.”

    I think they’ll get just what they want. The people paying them, the regents, don’t care if an education costs more. They’ll just pass the bill onto students, like they always do. This will make education more unaffordable. No one cares about that anymore.

  10. “These people who are striking are not going to get what they want.”

    I think they’ll get just what they want. The people paying them, the regents, don’t care if an education costs more. They’ll just pass the bill onto students, like they always do. This will make education more unaffordable. No one cares about that anymore.

  11. “These people who are striking are not going to get what they want.”

    I think they’ll get just what they want. The people paying them, the regents, don’t care if an education costs more. They’ll just pass the bill onto students, like they always do. This will make education more unaffordable. No one cares about that anymore.

  12. “These people who are striking are not going to get what they want.”

    I think they’ll get just what they want. The people paying them, the regents, don’t care if an education costs more. They’ll just pass the bill onto students, like they always do. This will make education more unaffordable. No one cares about that anymore.

  13. So let me get this straight Meaghan: you want people to work for poor wages so you can pay a bit less on your tuition?

    But I don’t think it comes down to that. 76% of the funds for these workers do not come from tuition anyway.

    You’ve bought into the false choice that has been laid before you by the administration. Why don’t you complain about the regent assistant who is now making $370K per year and got a $60K raise rather than some poor worker who is lucky to bring home $1200 per month.

  14. So let me get this straight Meaghan: you want people to work for poor wages so you can pay a bit less on your tuition?

    But I don’t think it comes down to that. 76% of the funds for these workers do not come from tuition anyway.

    You’ve bought into the false choice that has been laid before you by the administration. Why don’t you complain about the regent assistant who is now making $370K per year and got a $60K raise rather than some poor worker who is lucky to bring home $1200 per month.

  15. So let me get this straight Meaghan: you want people to work for poor wages so you can pay a bit less on your tuition?

    But I don’t think it comes down to that. 76% of the funds for these workers do not come from tuition anyway.

    You’ve bought into the false choice that has been laid before you by the administration. Why don’t you complain about the regent assistant who is now making $370K per year and got a $60K raise rather than some poor worker who is lucky to bring home $1200 per month.