Thousands of UC service workers are picketing today across the system on a 24-hour unfair labor practice (ULP) strike authorized by the workers’ union AFSCME 3299 (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees). As a part of the ULP, the workers are addressing instances of illegal intimidation from the UC with regards to their rights to voice concerns about safe staffing and working conditions.
These workers will be striking on UC Irvine’s campus at the flagpoles, while patient care workers also under AFSCME 3299 will be on solidarity strike at UC Irvine’s Medical Center. After a week of statements from both the UC and AFSCME 3299 regarding the legality of the strike, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) and a Sacramento Superior Court Judge rejected the UC’s attempt to stop the strike.
“For the second time in five months, both PERB and the courts have sided with AFSCME 3299 in affirming the right of our members to strike, and validated the responsible approach we have taken in exercising these rights,” said AFSCME 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger.
Yesterday, ASUCI Legislative Council passed resolution R49-33, taking action in expressing their support of the workers.
“Let it be resolved, that ASUCI executive offices, judicial board, and legislative council members are strongly urged not perform their duties in the ASUCI office on Wednesday, November 20th,” stated the resolution.
Both UCI picketing sites are scheduled to hold rallies in the afternoon. Undergraduate students as well as the UC student-workers union UAW 2865 will be striking in solidarity today and will be participating in a rally at noon at the flagpoles, which will feature speakers from across campus and entertainment in support of the workers. The UC Irvine Medical Center will also have a rally at 12:30 p.m. with scheduled speakers including trustees from the Anaheim Union and Garden Grove Union school districts.
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2:24 p.m. Workers participating in unity clap with UAW members and students at the flagpoles.
1:26 p.m. Over 300 workers and students marching together in the streets and through Mesa Court. Police following close behind.
1:12 p.m. Santa Ana High School student speaking about workers and working families. “I want one time, one day for [administration] to do what these workers do!”
1:09 p.m. Jenny Botello, political science student speaking to the workers in spanish about the difficulties that people of color and working class families face. Botello turning to administration building says “I feel it is really rude that you are texting while these people are speaking.” Various administrators and police officers gathered along Aldrich Hall watching the rally.
1:0o p.m. The floor is now available for open mic.
12:58 p.m. Alonso Castro, first year, preforming a song he wrote for the workers. Workers and audience joined the performer in singing Cielito Lindo.
12:55 p.m. Alejandro Muro, a UCI Student in Chican@/Latin@ studies and Executive Vice President Melissa Gamble taking to the podium. “Where there is justice, there will be no peace and that is why we are here,” said Muro. Gamble went on to talk about the economic inequalities within the UC system. “Why is it that administration continues to give themselves bonuses, when workers face pay cuts?” said Gamble.
12:48 p.m. Workers Justice Coalition leader Lisa Lei, 5th year, speaking to AFSCME 3299 workers about the shared workers and students struggle.
12:42 p.m. Andrea Gaspar, former ASUCI Executive Vice President and student organizer speaking to the audience about the community she built with workers when she first came to UCI. “I will not tolerate an attack on our workers.” said Gaspar, “an attack on our workers is an attack on all our students on this campus.” “We demand respect and integrity.”
12:38 p.m. Julio Perez, president of the Orange County Labor Federation and UCI alumni speaking about labor struggles across the board. Many of the OCLF members are currently striking at the medical center in solidarity. “When workers and community members stand together, we win,” said Perez, “This is not the last day of our fight because the battle always continuous.”
12:27 p.m. UAW 2865 member Jessica Conte, speaking to the audience now. “As students and workers, our fates are together,” said Conte “UC cuts affect us all, and that is why UAW 2865 is standing in solidarity today”
12:25 p.m. Oscar Martinez, housing worker speaking about the conditions. “Every year the UC has more patients and more students, but we do not have more workers,” said Martinez, “We need more staffing.” Workers break out into a chant “UC, escucha, estamos en la lucha!/UC, listen, we are in the fight!”
12:20 p.m. Approximately 400 people present at the rally, first worker speaking about strike, “All of us that are here today are not afraid!” said the worker, “For those that were afraid to come out, we want to let you know that you have the right to be here.”
12:18 p.m. Rally beginning after brief technical difficulties. Jorge Serrato and David Hollingsworth acting as MCs
11:15 a.m. March continued around Middle Earth freshmen housing and dining commons.
9:00 a.m. Workers lead a march around Aldrich Hall and Ring Road, joined by students and UAW 2865 members in solidarity strike. Over 100 marching and numbers growing.
6:00 a.m. Picketing begins at flagpoles in front of Aldrich Hall.