Photo:Blaine Ohigashi / Daily Bruin - Students rally for UC workers rights in front of Kerckhoff Hall on May Day today. May Day also coincides with International Worker's Day.
Photo:Blaine Ohigashi /Daily Bruin – Students rally for UC workers rights in front of Kerckhoff Hall on May Day today. May Day also coincides with International Worker’s Day.

By Daily Bruin

About 100 students gathered today in front of Kerckhoff Hall to show support for workers within the University of California, and to protest past staff layoffs and the University’s proposed pension reforms.

The protest was part of a string of demonstrations across the world for May Day, which commemorates the onset of Spring.

May Day coincides with International Worker’s Day, which celebrates the international labor movement – one of the reasons why the workers decided to hold the protest today, said Jason Ball, a political science graduate student and president of the UC Student-Workers Union Local 2865.

Organizers featured several guest speakers, including current UC workers and an undocumented student who urged the protesters to support immigration reform.

The speakers also encouraged participants to support the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, which represents workers across the UC, as the union continues to negotiate with the UC. The union is currently in the midst of a vote to decide whether or not to strike.

The UC Student Workers Union Local 2865, UCLA’s Student Collective Action Against Labor Exploitation, and MEChA de UCLA helped organize the protest.

From Kerckhoff, the protesters marched up past Powell and Humanities, continuing until they reached Murphy Hall, where they occupied the second floor hallway outside of the Chancellor’s office.

Denied entry, protest leaders read a letter addressed to Chancellor Block, disparaging the measures the UC has taken toward its workers.

UCLA officials were not immediately available for comment on the rally.

Several members of Students Collective Against Labor Exploitation were devoted to security, their status denoted by red bandanas on their arms, said Juan Torres, a first-year history student.

“Violence has broken out in the past. We’re here to prevent it,” he said.

Camila Lacques, a fourth-year international development studies and chicano/a studies student and one of the lead organizers of the event, said she was very excited and pleased by how the protest turned out.

The event was three weeks in the making, Lacques said.

“Now we just need to go bigger and go harder. We need to make (the UC) listen to us,” she added.

Some of the protesters planned to meet again at 2 p.m. to take a bus downtown to join other May Day protests.

Compiled by Christopher Hurley, Bruin contributor.

[Source]: Daily Bruin