Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

UC workers get new contract

Their picketing, office take-overs and media blitzes finally paid off for the service workers union at the University of California system. Today they announced they had secured a contract, with pay increases, from the state college system.

The union announced the deal in an e-mail titled that its workers have taken their “first step out of poverty with a historic contract.”

The 8,500 members of AFSCME Local 3299 have struck an agreement that includes wage increases over five years of 4 percent the first year and 3 percent the following four years.

“After a year and half of negotiations, this is truly a historic day. We have gone on strike, held informational pickets, lobbied, ran television commercials, and many other things that were key to get UC executives to do the right thing and readjust their priorities from executives to the lowest paid workers at UC,” expressed Lakesha Harrison, the union’s president, in the release.

The union represents custodians, gardeners, food service workers, and drivers at the 10 UC campuses and five medical centers. The workers had gone on a statewide five-day strike last summer.

Along with the wage increases, the contract creates a pay system that rewards seniority and includes the first time ever statewide minimum wage for the workers’ job classifications. The minimum wage will reach $14 an hour by the end of the contract.

“This has been a truly historic fight for all of us. For years, we have been struggling to make ends meet each month on UC’s low wages. Finally UC executives have recognized their moral responsibility to provide a wage increase that will start to lift us and our families out of poverty, and provide better jobs in our communities” stated Kathryn Lybarger a gardener at the University of California at Berkeley.

The office of UC President Mark G. Yudof has yet to issue a statement on the contract settlement.

— Matthew S. Bajko, January 28, 2009 @ 3:10 pm PST
Filed under: News

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