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Center Column Archives
On May Day 2014, actions across the Bay Area were as diverse as the people who live here. Multiple events were held leading up to the holiday as part of the Earth Day to May Day Days of Direct Action. Across the board, rallies supported undocumented workers and residents. UC Santa Cruz students continued to protest the appointment of Janet Napolitano. Additionally, many of the marches were joined by contingents supporting justice for people affected by police violence, including Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa and Antonio Lopez in San José.
Over one hundred San Francisco public school teachers, paraprofessionals, and education staff who are members of United Educators of San Francisco (UESF) rallied on April 22 at the San Francisco Unified School District school board building. UESF workers are demanding a living wage after an 8-year wage freeze. The massive speculative housing bubble is driving workers out of San Francisco and forcing them to commute long distances. Many are unable to afford healthcare.
At a rally on April 15, Tax Day, hundreds of SEIU 1021 city workers rallied at City Hall and then marched to the headquarters of Twitter on Market Street. The demonstration was organized to protest the tax subsidies the company receives that are worth tens of millions of dollars a year while city workers have taken pay cuts. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and City Supervisors give tax subsidies to Twitter and other tech titans.
20 graduate and undergraduate students were arrested at UC Santa Cruz on April 2, and two more were arrested on April 3. UAW 2865, the union representing Teaching Assistants throughout the University of California system, called for a peaceful, legal strike in protest of management’s unlawful intimidation of student-workers, but were met with more of the same intimidation.
On March 4, one hundred and forty-nine public speaker's cards were turned in prior to the Oakland City Council meeting. Public comment was unanimous against a city-wide Domain Awareness Center. Nevertheless, council members passed a resolution at about 1am on March 5 to proceed with a scaled-down Port-only version of the DAC. From the public galleries in council chambers, calls of "shame, shame, shame" rang out after the vote to continue development of the DAC.
On March 5, students at UC Santa Cruz occupied the Hahn building in an ongoing resistance to the appointment of Janet Napolitano as president of the University of California system. The occupation follows a march to Kerr Hall on February 26, when students attempted to enter the offices of UCSC's Chancellor. Support for UC workers is central to the demands of student demonstrators, and over the course of the recent protests, labor victories have been gained as the university has given into demands by Graduate Student Workers and AFSCME Workers in separate negotiations.
On February 26 in East Palo Alto, about 250 people marched through the intersection in front of IKEA. Seven activists risked arrest, locking arms and standing (sometimes sitting) in the middle of a major intersection. Union and immigrant rights activists called out Juvenal Chavez, owner of nearby Mi Pueblo, for betraying his own undocumented immigrant roots by participating in the Department of Homeland Security program E-Verify that screens the immigration status of new hires.