Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC

For the Week of April 08, 2013

UPTE-CWA members organized in 14 different actions around the state last Thursday, to protest UC management’s push to create second-class retirement benefits, its layoffs of workers, and its refusal to provide fair wage increases.

UC Union Coalition partners AFSCME (which represents patient care and service workers) and the California Nurses Association also
took part.
Tug of war at UCB
Tug of war. Photo by Laurel Lucia
A lively picket and street blockade that resulted in the civil disobedience arrests of ten union activists at the UCSF medical center drew wide media attention, including reports on Oakland’s KTVU, the Bay Area’s Univision station, and ABS-CBN News San Francisco.

State Senator Leland Yee (D-SF) and San Francisco supervisors John Avalos and Eric Mar joined the demonstration, which focused on recent layoffs at UCSF in the wake of a whistleblower report which documents dangerous cuts to patient care.

A report on the Pacifica Evening News focused on the issues behind the actions, especially UC management’s proposals for a two-tier retirement system (advance 47 minutes into the newscast to hear the story). That change could cost UC workers up to $1 billion more than necessary, according to a recent actuarial report.

Coverage of the UCSF protest also ran in the Daily Cal, the San Francisco Examiner and KQED radio, the online journal Calitics and the China Press.  A rally at UC Santa Cruz drew a large crowd and a write-up in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Other actions around the state included a tug of war between first- and second-class workers at UC Berkeley, numerous picket lines, and an informational picnic.

The “day of action for respect and dignity” took place on April 4 as part of a nationwide commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s work for economic justice, marked each year on the anniversary of his assassination. Find photos and videos of all the events on UPTE’s Facebook page.

In other news, after a three-day strike, workers at the University of Illinois have won four years of guaranteed wage increases.

On April 8, dock workers at the world's third largest port in Hong Kong entered their 12th day of a strike for a 20 percent pay increase and better working conditions, which is attracting increasing support. The UC connection to the strike is billionaire port operator and UC Berkeley medalist Li Ka-shing, whose $40 million contribution to UC Berkeley in 2005 paved the way for development and building of the Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences.
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