FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 26, 2019
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University of California Accused of Illegally Intimidating Striking Workers
(OAKLAND, CA) – University of California workers filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against UC late yesterday, alleging that the University has illegally intimidated and violated the rights of workers who’ve gone on strike in protest of outsourcing and growing income inequality at UC. The charge comes less than a week after Senator Bernie Sanders visited striking UC workers at UCLA and blasted the publicly-funded University for acting like a “corporate-type employer.”
“For more than 70 years, strong unions have held the University of California accountable to its core public mission and its responsibilities to the frontline employees who make the institution run,” said AFSCME Local 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger. “Sadly, as UC has redoubled its efforts to outsource jobs, flatten wages, and erode benefits for its employees, it has worked just as hard to silence their collective voices through intimidation tactics.”
Specifically, AFSCME-represented workers allege that the University engaged in illegal conduct ranging from workplace retaliation and threats of police citation to effectively condoning the violent physical assault of striking workers on the picket line. While the examples cited in the charge have occurred more recently, prior instances include a February 2018 encounter in which University police singled-out and assaulted an African American employee named David Cole at UC Berkeley during a peaceful protest.
“The facts suggest that UC believes itself to be exempt from state law,” added Lybarger. “But UC is not above the law, and we will fight to ensure that UC is held accountable for any illegal conduct in order to preserve the protected rights of workers.”
AFSCME Local 3299’s leadership is reviewing further potential measures regarding the Unfair Labor Practice charge that includes (but is not limited to) a potential strike in protest of UC’s actions.