ADVISORY: Thousands of Frontline UC Workers to Protest Wednesday as UC Regents Meet to Approve More Raises for Top Executives
Thousands of Frontline UC Workers to Protest Wednesday as UC Regents Meet to Approve More Raises for Top Executives
Rallies Taking Place at UC Campuses and Medical Centers across the State
Oakland: As the University of California (UC) Regents meet to approve another pay increase for the system’s highest paid executives this week, thousands of frontline UC service and patient care workers will rally across the state on Wednesday to demand that Regents and Administrators take action to address the growing affordability crisis plaguing student workers and their lowest paid employees.
On Wednesday, the Regents will vote on another round of raises for their top level senior management group (SMG). According to UC payroll data, these executives already average almost $500K (or $226 per hour) per year, not including cash bonuses and extra perks like car allowances, entertainment budgets, and low interest mortgage assistance. In April, the Regents boosted the “base” salary of one such SMG employee, UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla by $500K, to more than $1.14 million per year.
Leading Wednesday’s statewide protests will be UC’s 30,000 frontline service and patient care workers, who have seen their inflation adjusted wages drop by 5% over the last two years, fueling a staff vacancy crisis that UC’s Chief Financial Officer Nathan Brostrom recently warned has tripled since the start of the COVID pandemic. Alongside students, other UC employees, and community allies, these workers are demanding a minimum wage of $25 per hour, guaranteed wage increases that keep pace with the cost of living, and UC investment in more affordable housing units for for workers and students.
WHO: UC Union Leaders, Workers, and Community Allies
WHAT: Informational Picket and Rally to Demand Increased Wages and Affordable Housing
- Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, 757 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles (7:00-8:30 a.m.) On-site Media Point of Contact: Frank Valdez, (619) 754-1188
- UCLA Luskin Conference Center, 425 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles (9:00-9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. & 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.) On-site Media Point of Contact: Frank Valdez, (619) 754-1188
- UCSF Parnassus Campus, 505 Parnassus Ave, San Francisco, CA (11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.) On-site Media Point of Contact: Todd Stenhouse, (916) 397-1131, [email protected]
- UCD Medical Center, 4301 X St, Sacramento, CA (6:00 – 8:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.) On-site Media Contact: Kary Salcedo, (916) 699-3325, [email protected]
- UCSD Jacobs Medical Center, 9300 Campus Point Drive, La Jolla, CA (11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.) On-site Media Contact: Juan Montoya, (530) 383-8622, [email protected]
WHEN: Wed. May 17, 2023, *Time at locations above
“UC is struggling to recruit staff that can answer the call button in its hospitals or keep campuses safe and clean for students because they are choosing to invest in executives over the frontline workers who make these facilities run,” said Michael Avant, Executive Vice President of AFSCME Local 3299, which represents 30,000 of UC’s lowest-paid workers. “UC workers love our jobs, but our paychecks are not keeping up with the high cost of living, and our employer refuses to make the investments necessary to recruit and retain the staff we need. Wednesday’s rally is about taking a stand for everyone who works at UC or depends on UC and struggles to survive.”
Background: Over the past five years, the share of UC service and patient care workers represented by AFSCME 3299 who are housing cost-burdened rise from 50% to 70%. The most recent census data reveals that over 50 percent of Californians living in occupied rental units are cost-burdened. During this time, UC has sunk more than $7 billion into controversial investments like Blackstone, Inc. — whose reliance on rent increases and other extractive investment models worsen the housing crisis. On Mar. 14, the UC Union Coalition sent President Drake a letter repeating an earlier demand that UC immediately divest its holdings from Blackstone and to invest in the development of more affordable and sustainable housing.
Since February 2021, when inflation began its acceleration, California CPI has increased by 12 percent, far outpacing “real wages” for UC’s lowest paid workers which have declined by five percent over the same period. In contrast, UC has increased the average pay for its chancellors, each of whom earns more than $500K per year, by an 24% over in the past year alone. Taken together, these factors led ASFCME 3299—which represents UC’s lowest paid service and patient care workers—to send President Drake a letter outlining the urgency of establishing a $25 per hour minimum wage back in March.
Hundreds of University of California (UC) employees represented by AFSCME 3299, other labor and student unions, and community allies rallied at campuses and medical centers across the UC system on Apr. 12, calling on Administrators to increase the system’s minimum wage to $25 per hour, and to invest in new affordable housing for workers and students.
AFSCME Local 3299 is the University of California’s largest employee union, representing more than 30,000 Service and Patient Care Technical workers at UC’s 10 campuses, 5 medical centers, numerous clinics, research laboratories, and UC Law, SF.