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At UCSC Rally, Students Continue to Seek Napolitano's Resignation and Justice for Workers
Students rallied at UC Santa Cruz on February 26 to continue to protest the hiring of Janet Napolitano as president of the University of California system. "We say no to Napolitano, yes to worker demands," organizers stated in an announcement for the event where students also expressed solidarity with UC Service Workers represented by AFSCME 3299, who will be striking statewide on March 3-7. [Top video: Mic Check at McHenry Library]
"The UC system is run on the backs of workers low wages and student debt while administrators make over $200,000 a year. Taking a stand against Napolitano means confronting the racism and classism that the UC system is founded upon. This foundation will only change with students and workers continuing to say no," the event announcement continued.
The rally began at Quarry Plaza, and students marched in the pouring rain to McHenry Library while loudly singing anti-Napolitano chants. At the library, there was a short mic check to raise awareness about the upcoming AFSCME strike. From there, students marched to Kerr Hall and attempted to enter the offices of Chancellor Blumenthal. Finding one office door locked, and another guarded by an administrator, students briefly discussed the idea of a conducting a sit-in in the hallway, but the group decided to leave the building to save energy for next week's strike.
During the March 3-7 AFSCME strike, service workers plan to picket both entrances of the campus all week beginning early in the morning. UCSC Student Academic Workers represented by UAW 2865 have decided to strike in solidarity with AFSCME members and join the picket line on Wednesday, March 5. Additionally, a large rally is planned for that day.
For more information, see:
Remove Janet Napolitano as President of UC System
Student Worker Justice Network
Autonomous Students UCSC
UC Service Workers Announce Five Day Strike
Article updated on March 3, 2014
From UC Student Workers UAW 2865 Santa Cruz:
We are planning to go on strike next Wednesday March 5 over two grievances - one about workload and the other about the UC creating degraded TAships. To be very clear: while it is timed such that it coincided with AFSCME’s planned strike, this was and will be a grievance strike focused on our union’s concerns, not a solidarity strike. Because our current contract is expired and UC is not obligated to arbitrate, our options are to give up on these grievances or strike to pressure the UC to resolve them.
The UAW strike will be Wednesday March 5 all day, with a picket line at the base of campus from 10-2.
Our strike next Wednesday will be about two grievances that we have filed with the university that they have not resolved. The first grievance is about TAships in UCSC’s Arts Division with 13.5 hours of in class time (lecture plus sections), making it impossible to complete grading, reading, answering emails, and prep within our 20 hour maximum workload limit. This level of overwork leaves little time for TAs to provide meaningful feedback to students and severely diminishes educational quality. The same problem, in the same class, occurred last year. The University met last year with the UAW and discussed strategies for alleviating the problem, but instead only added several hours to the TA workload this year. We ask that the university either add more TAs, or shrink the required in-class time significantly and use this as a model for the other classes that have similar schedule problems.
The second grievance involves UCSC creating TAships (mandatory sections, grading, etc) for students in Mathematics, but paying them hourly, at a low rate, with no benefits (health insurance, fee remissions, child care subsidy etc.) and no union representation. This takes better paying, benefited jobs and turns them into low-wage, low-security positions, while also making it difficult for graduate students to obtain work at the University while pursuing their degree. In fact, this year many Economics graduate students--who are prime candidates for TA positions in Math--have only been offered employment for two out of three quarters, making them seek jobs off campus, go into debt by taking out student loans, or take leaves of absence. We ask that the university stop this practice and pay the workers back pay for the salary and benefits they have missed.
Because our contract has expired, we don’t have access to the arbitration process and are not held to the no-strike clause either. So, after the last step of the grievance procedure is exhausted our only option is to give up or strike. We have given the university until Sunday at 5pm to resolve these grievances.
AFSCME 3299 Cancels Strike, Announces "Historic" Agreement for UC Service Workers
From Autonomous Students UCSC:
Thanks to the hard work and unity of students and workers, AFSCME 3299 has settled a great contract with over 8,000 service workers across the University of California System! The new contract includes protections against outsourcing and greater job security, as well as 13.5% in wage increases over four years.
This is a great victory for working people in California and everyone who supported should be proud of what they helped accomplish! This means that the strike scheduled for March 3-7 has been canceled. You can read more about the details of the settlement in the press release below.
BUT our work is not done yet! UC has still not settled with over 12,000 Patient Care Workers. They are bargaining today and tomorrow. We are asking supporters to call Janet Napolitano at 510-987-9074, to remind her that we will not stop fighting until UC provides Patient Care workers the fair wage increases, staffing protections, and job security they deserve.
Let's win the same great contract for the workers who provide high-quality frontline patient care to millions of patients across the state!