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UC workers set 2-day strike

...
UC workers set 2-day strike

<www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2002/October/14/local/stories/03local.htm>

October 14, 2002
By RAMONA TURNER
Sentinel staff writer

SANTA CRUZ -- A two-day strike that begins today at UC Santa Cruz
and four other UC campuses is not about the money or the lackluster
health benefits.
It’s about respect.
So say the 25 members of the Coalition of University Employees
union who marched Sunday on Pacific Avenue to announce the strike
among University of California clerical workers.
Union members have not had a raise in more than a year. UC
lecturers, who have been working without a contract for two years,
will join them.
Similar strikes will be taking place at UC campuses in Davis, Riverside,
Santa Barbara and San Diego. Rallies will be held at the remaining UC
campuses.
UC officials call the strikes illegal. Locally, unionized Metro bus drivers
will drop students off at the base of campus, where they can catch
university-run shuttles.
Union members claim the 1.5 percent offer the UC system offered,
then retracted, actually amounted to a pay cut considering the higher
education system was making the employees pay more out of pocket
for their health benefits.
“Smells like Enron,” said Pat Tru, union spokesman.
But that’s not why they will hold picket signs. They said the state
rules prevent them from walking off the job over poor pay and health
benefits. But nothing’s stopping them from not working as an attempt
to get the UC system to engage in fair labor practices.
“The UC system hires temporary workers and lets them go after 18
months,” said Gerry Gerringer, a union member who has participated in
the bargaining effort. “The UC does that so it doesn’t have to pay
health benefits and retirement. After 18 months, those people are
eligible for a contract with full benefits.”
Wearing red shirts and painted-on skeleton faces, union members
spent about an hour marching along Pacific Avenue on Sunday and
handing out fliers to anyone who would take them.
While chanting “Two, four, six, eight, UC won’t negotiate,” they
carried signs that read, “On strike for respect,” “UC regents killing UC
ethics” and “Together, we are powerful.”
Most pedestrians and motorists paused to take in the spectacle and
maybe take a flier. While motorists honked their horns in support of
the work stoppage, some pedestrians waved and said, “Right on!.”
Lily Handley, 20, was working at Moon Zoom Endangered Clothing
when the parade passed her door. She’s a UCSC student who is well
aware of the strike. And she supports it.
“It seems the university’s cheating them out of more than money,
but respect,” she said, noting the topic is the talk of the campus.
A number of students have pledged to skip classes today and
Tuesday in support of the strike, she said, while many of her
professors will refrain from crossing the picket lines as well.
----------
Contact Ramona Turner at rturner (at) santa-cruz.com.
----------
UCSC strike schedule

Picket lines from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and Tuesday at west and
main entrances to campus, University Town Center and UC Extension
in Cupertino.
Today at 12:15 p.m.: Rally at main entrance to campus, at Bay and
High streets. Invited speakers include Assemblyman Fred Keeley,
Santa Cruz Mayor Christopher Krohn, lecturer emeritus Marge Franz,
City Council candidate Mike Rotkin and county Supervisor Mardi
Wormhoudt.
Tuesday at 12:15 p.m.: Rally at High and Bay streets with invited
speakers, including Santa Cruz Councilman Tim Fitzmaurice.

For information, call 420-0258 or visit www.cueunion.org or
_www.cft.org/uc-aft
 
 


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