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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Labor & Workers
Report and Pictures from UC Berkeley Service Workers' Strike
Thousands of UC service workers go on a one-day strike statewide. Hundreds participate in pickets, rallies, flying pickets, and other actions in Berkeley.
On Thursday, April 14 thousands of service workers went on strike on University of California campuses and medical centers statewide. The service workers are represented by AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees). They are some of the lowest paid workers on UC campuses doing much of the vital behind-the-scenes work that keeps the university functioning. They are bus drivers, custodians, gardeners, etc. Other workers - construction workers, clerical workers, graduate student instructors, nurses, teamsters, technical workers - also respected picket lines.
Many people crossed the picket lines, but the crowds on campus were noticeably thinner that usual. Many classes were cancelled. Some classes were moved off-campus, to cafes and student co-ops.
Hundreds of workers walked picket lines all around campus. The largest picket line, which would swell to as much as 300 people, was on Sproul Plaza. A rally was held at noon. At 1 PM, a flying picket of about 500 people (made up of workers, students, and community members) formed and took the streets. At around 3:30 PM, the flying picket and the people on the picket lines at Sproul took to the streets again to march on the International House, where the new chancellor was celebrating his inauguration. Workers demanded the chancellor come out to address them, and the crowd surrounded the entrances until the chancellor came out and spoke.