FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 16, 2019
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(OAKLAND, CA) – Amid ongoing labor disputes over outsourcing, income inequality and alleged illegal labor practices, the University of California’s largest employee union announced today that it is calling for a boycott of University speaking engagements. AFSCME Local 3299’s announcement comes as the 10-campus system has begun naming guest speakers—such as former First Lady Michelle Obama, Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis—ahead of Spring commencement ceremonies.
The announcement also comes just days after UC workers mounted an Unfair Labor Practice strike and just weeks after a concurrent charge alleging illegal workplace intimidation and incidents of violence was filed against the University.
“The University of California has used intimidation tactics to keep workers from protesting over outsourcing and income inequality instead of negotiating in good faith,” commented AFSCME Local 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger. “We do not tolerate bullying. If invited speakers feel the same way, then they’ll honor this boycott of UC events.”
This is the second call for a boycott since the start of the 25-month long dispute between workers and the University. Last year, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris and Congressman John Lewis withdrew from speaking at UC Berkeley and UC San Diego after workers announced a previous boycott last April.
“When our publicly-funded institutions fail to meet basic standards of fairness, equality and respect, it’s our duty as responsible citizens to hold them accountable,” added Lybarger. “The decision of invited guests to withhold their participation at University events sends a clear message that the public does not condone UC’s illegal behavior.”
Last modified: April 16, 2019