California worker started 3 days strike at University of California campuses. The worker includes thousands of custodians, security guards, gardeners and other service workers.
The strike was started to address pay inequalities and demand higher wages. Strikers gathered at sunrise on the 10 campuses throughout the state. They were wearing green T-shirts and carrying signs that call for “equality, fairness, respect.”
The strike was called last week by American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, which represents 25,000 service workers, after the union and the university could not agree on a new contract and mediation efforts failed.
Another 29,000 nurses, pharmacists, radiologists and other medical workers noticed the service workers’ call for a sympathy strike and will join the walkouts Tuesday and Wednesday. So it is expected to disrupt thousands of surgeries and other appointments. Medical center officials said they would continue to deliver essential patient care services.
Hiring contract workers in favor of directly employed workers simply because they are cheaper and that is driving inequality. UC spokeswoman Claire Doan said AFSCME service workers are already paid at or above market rates and that the union is demanding a nearly 20 percent pay raise over three years.
“A disruptive demonstration will change neither UC’s economic situation nor the university’s position on AFSCME’s unreasonable demands,” Doan said about the strike.
University officials said they have temporary workers to fill in during the strike but that students should expect changes on shuttle routes, less food offerings at restaurants and other inconveniences.