Demonstrations and pickets closed down intersections and caused delays at all UC campuses and medical centers on January 10 as the 12,000 administrative clerical support workers represented by Teamsters Local 2010 struck the University of California.
“We had to take action to confront the University’s numerous violations of state law and unfair labor practices,” said Local 2010 Secretary-Treasurer Jason Rabinowitz. “They’ve failed to bargain in good faith and have unlawfully threatened retaliation against workers for engaging in union activities. We also wanted to show support for the UCLA skilled trades workers who are on a five-day strike.”
The actions were held at the 10 University of California campuses, and at several laboratories and medical centers.
“The Local Unions of Joint Council 7 came out in force to support their brothers and sisters from Local 2010,” said Joint Council 7 President Rome Aloise. “I couldn’t be more proud of their solidarity.”
At UCSF, the center medical plaza area at Parnassus was filled with striking workers and Teamster supporters. At UC Santa Cruz, roads were closed, including the main entrance to the campus, as students and faculty joined the striking workers in protest. At UC Berkeley protests resulted in traffic slowdowns and the turning away of deliveries.
Protests and picket lines by more than 600 strikers and their supporters at UCLA’s main campus resulted in the closure of the intersection of Wilshire and Westwood and disrupted campus medical centers and administrative offices. In addition hundreds of picketers surrounded the UCLA Santa Monica Hospital and UCLA buildings at LAX and the Wilshire Center.
In San Diego, both major medical centers were confronted with pickets and demonstrations. At La Jolla Thornton medical complex, hundreds of protesters and picket lines impacted two major intersections.
Pickets at other campuses, including Irvine, Davis, Santa Barbara, Merced and Riverside, were held the entire day.
Across the UC system, classes were canceled and there were delays in areas such as patient billing and collections, childcare services, student housing, sporting and conference venues, instruction, research and administrative offices.
“Today’s strike shows that the workers who make the University of California work will no longer put up with unfair treatment. We won’t rest until UC bargains in good faith for a fair contract that pays workers enough to live,” explains Rabinowitz.
The striking workers included administrative assistants, collection representatives, childcare assistants and public safety dispatchers. These are specialized workers, 45% of whom have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. The workforce is 81% female and 63% people of color.
The wages of the administrative, clerical support workers are so low that over 70% of these full-time workers suffer from hunger or food insecurity according to an October 2016 Occidental College report. The workers have seen their real wages decline by 24% over the past two decades.
Disruptions and pickets are likely to continue at the University until the Teamster contract dispute is settled.