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STRIKE 101: basic facts you should know

What is a strike?

A strike is a cessation or witholding of labor by workers in order to force their employer to meet their demands, often for higher pay or improved conditions

What is a picket line?

Picket lines are a mass of workers and their allies marching in a line, often with signs, in order to draw public attention to the policies of their employer and to shut down the business they are picketing. Leading up to the strike, small groups of workers have been picketing at the base of campus and at the colleges. These are not strikes. They are informational pickets done during the workers’ free time to raise awarness about the issues they are facing.


Who are the striking unions?

CUE, the clericals and AFCSME, the service workers. They’re the ones that keep the University going. They do all the paper work, serve us food, keep the campus clean and all that jazz. See CUE: The Coalition of University Employees (i.e. The Clerical Union) and AFSCME: American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (i.e. The Service Worker Union) for more details.


Why are they striking?

- Both AFSCME and CUE are currently working without a contract, and have been doing so for almost a year. A contract is an agreement between labor unions and their employer that negotiates the terms of their labor. Teams of bargainers representing the unions and the U.C. sit down together to negotiate these terms.

- The UC is refusing to negotiate on many important issues including workload, and living wages

To learn about what the unions are specifically bargaining for see [ CUE: The Coalition of University Employees (i.e. The Clerical Union) and AFSCME: American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (i.e. The Service Worker Union) ] for more details.


Are UCSC workers the only ones going on strike?

No, AFSCME service workers will be going on strike on every campus of the University of California. However, the CUE union is only going out on strike here at UCSC. [from the comments: Actually, CUE is also going out statewide. Sorry for the important typo. We corrected it in the actual paper before going to print. Apologies, apologies.]


Won’t the university bring in replacement workers?

The replacements that the regents are trying to get are temporary workers from Labor Ready and Kelly services. These replacements, also called “scabs?, get paid much higher than actual union workers although they lack the skill and experience of AFSCME and CUE members. At the same time, it should be noted that scabs are often low-income people, struggling from the same economic injustices as AFSCME and CUE workers. The university wants it to seem like everything is under control and that the workers are dispensible. We cannot allow for it to be business as on campus. Being in solidarity with the union means not participating in activites that are using scab labor. Don’t ride shuttles or go to the dinning halls if you can avoid it.


Where can I get food?

In support of the workers on strike do not eat at the Dining Halls and Cafes. There will be food being served at the base of campus during the strike. You might also want to stock up at the grocery store in advance.


Will our tuition go up if workers are paid a living wage?

No, the worker’s wages are not paid from the student’s tuition. The obvious proof of this is that over the last couple of years, tuition at the UC has been increasing while workers’s salaries have remained at poverty levels. If there were a correlation we would have seen it. Tuition is going up because their is a serious funding distribution crisis at the U.C., with the top sector of the administration earning unreasonable salaries. See University of California: non-profit or corporate money maker? for more details.


Will my grade be affected if I support the strike?

It all depends on the instructor you have and whether it is mandatory for you to attend class. Many instructors are cancelling classes in solidarity with the strike. If your classes are not being canclled then you need to weigh the costs and benefits. Is it really that important for you to attend class? Could you potentially learn more by participating in a picket line? It is, afterall, only one day.


What if I’m a TA?

There are two options for supporting the strike; convene your class or section on the picket line at the base of campus, or if you feel you can’t then please cancel it and encourage students to join the workers and support the strike.


How can I best support the strike?

Go to the base of campus and join the workers at the picket line on Thursday, April 14, 2005. Don’t attend classes and don’t eat at the dining hall on that day.


What will make the strike successful?

The strike will have the greatest chance of forcing the U.C. to negotiate fairly with the Unoins and to meet their important demands if the university is completely shut down. When the U.C. sees that they cannot opperate their ‘business’ without these workers, they will have to reconsider their bargaining position.


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“I personally plan on supporting the workers in their fight. I plan on going out and showing my support by being there with them. Something has to change. If those of us who pay for things around here aren’t supportive of their efforts, the administration won’t listen.?

-Justin Williams [student]


“The day of April 14 should not be the only day we support workers. The picket lines should not only be recognized on this one day out of respect for the workers. We must remain in solidarity with the wrokers and support their struggles daily.?

-AyeNay Abye [student]

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Comments

Important Correction!

Actually, CUE is also going out statewide. Sorry for the important typo. We corrected it in the actual paper before going to print. Apologies, apologies.
 

Re: STRIKE 101: basic facts you should know

I WILL supporting the AFCSME and the CUE. My pledge: I will not stand by and allow my education to be built on the backs of underpaid workers, I will not take my degree with pride unless I fully understand that the workers are paid fairly for their valuable labor.

I will NOT cross your line. I will stand with you in full support for fair labor practices.

See you at the picket line. In solidarity and for equality - peoplemakenoise
 

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