Labor protests under way at all 10 campuses

DAVIS, Calif. (KCRA)
—University of California staff members protested at all 10 campuses and five medical centers on Thursday, demanding a better labor contract.

Employees at the University of California, Davis said UC officials are proposing cuts to medical and pension benefits, even though executive pay has soared.

“To me, it is just about greed. We are here to do a job. We expect them to do a job. Just like an employer to take care of their workers, not just use them and discard them when they can’t do a job,” said Fernando Garcia, a gardener who does landscaping at UC Davis.

Some students said they will be standing side by side with protesting staff, showing their support for those who support their education.

Protesters are asking for UC administrators to cut executive pay and pensions before considering any further tuition hikes and staffing cuts.

“We keep getting told, ‘we don’t have enough money for you guys that actually make it work at the ground level,’ but the administrators always get some kind of money — some kind of bonus,” said Leticia Garcia Prado, a patient-care worker at the UC Davis student health center.

Added Hernandez: “Your average median income for a UC worker is about $19,000 a year. Well, if that person works over 20 years, he won’t even collect 40 percent of his retirement.”

The protesters at UC Davis said they feel that they are in line with Gov. Jerry Brown’s message.

Earlier this month, Brown said tuition hikes for the college systems were not the answer.

“I will not let the students become the default financiers of our colleges and universities,” Brown said.

As for what will come next, the UC system wouldn’t respond to specifics about a possible proposal, or the workers’ contracts. Officials did defend how much they pay the UC president.

“If we want to continue to keep the quality of the University of California what it is, then we need to stay competitive,” spokesperson Brooke Converse said on behalf of UC in an emailed statement. “And in order to do so, we need to pay something competitive.”

[Source]: KCRA