ASUCI Backs UCI Workers

The ASUCI Legislative Council passed legislation R49-13 on Thursday, Oct. 17, to show solidarity and support for workers’ rights.
The legislation was authored by representatives David Hollingsworth and Khaalidah Sidney as a response to the lack of cooperation, on the administration’s part, in relation to the service workers contacts and pay distribution within the UC.

Jasmine Gutierrez | Photography Intern

Jasmine Gutierrez | Photography Intern

After nearly a year of failed bargaining with American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME 3299) — the union representing the service workers and health care workers — the UC administration is establishing wage freeze while unilaterally imposing a 1.5% increase to pension contribution which will force employees to contribute a higher percent of their paycheck to their pension and decreasing the amount of their take home pay.

The resolution called out UC Irvine administration, claiming that admin “has repeatedly been dismissive of workers and their allies.” R49-13 cited the issue of UC imposed contacts on the workers stating, “on Sept. 25, 2013, the UC imposed a unilateral implementation of their proposals on AFSCME 3299 service workers which they didn’t agree to, nor had any say in, which was less than a year of being without a contract.”

Jorge Serrato, AFSCME organizer, spoke more on this matter and what the implementation of these contracts means to the workers.

“This is essentially a pay cut… and that by increasing the percentage contribution to the pension fund decreases the take home pay of the workers,” Serrato said. “[It is] money that they rely on to feed their families. Now that the university has taken this away from them these workers are completely dissatisfied with the way the university is treating them. They are not about to allow the university to just take them away from them. So we are urging [the council] to please support our workers here at the university.”

The resolution took almost the entire two-hour meeting to debate and serious revisions had to take place for it to be voted on. After considering the revisions, the resolution was amended to include citations at the end as a source to many of these claims. The council was mostly in favor of supporting the workers with a final vote of 15 for, zero against and two abstentions.

Many students came out to voice their opinion during public comment and to aid the legislatures in their discussion of the bill.
Lisa Lei, a fifth-year political science major, sociology and Asian American studies minor, spoke out at about the legislation.

“Oftentimes [the students] think that the workers are just the service workers but workers are also our teachers and our professors. As students it is important to always be in allyship with our workers,” Lei said. “Passing this legislation will show administration how important this is. Without the workers there is no campus, we often say without the students there would be — no one to pay tuition — no university. It is the same with the workers.”