On Wednesday, AFSCME Local 3299 gathered under Storke Tower to protest unfair labor practices against the University of California described in the charges filed last month, striking for the fourth time in the last year.
The American Federation of State, Local and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which represents the largest number of UC workers, alleges that the UC violated state labor laws by engaging in intimidation tactics, retaliating against workers and interfering with workers’ rights, according to the unfair labor practice labor charge filed on March 25.
“There’s a lot of ongoing investigations into these labor practices by the UC. They’ve been trying to wash their hands of them, and soon it’s going to catch up to them,” said Erick Ceballos, a third-year political science major and student intern for AFSCME. “They can’t let it go without a fight.”
University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE), a worker’s union for professional and technical UC employees, joined AFSCME in protesting against the UC. UPTE represents more than 13,000 employees, while AFSCME Local 3299 represents more than 24,000 employees across the UC campuses.
According to Jarrod Coldron, a former UCSB student, present-day groundskeeper and Member Action Team (M.A.T.) leader for AFSCME, UC allegedly employed intimidation tactics against workers at the most recent solidarity strike with UPTE.
“For example, we had some bosses that were threatening retaliation against workers who went on strikes. Unfortunately, we actually had some violence on the strike lines at Berkeley and Davis campuses, and as far as I know, that hasn’t been denounced by the UC yet,” Coldron said.
An altercation between a UC Davis managerial worker and strikers arose when a truck drove close to the picket lines during the three-day strike last fall. A UC Berkeley employee was also tackled to the ground and arrested in a protest in February of last year.
“We’re just out here to affirm that we have a right to speak and that even if we’re being intimidated, we’re going to make sure that our voices are heard.”
More than 100 members came out to support AFSCME during the strike today, according to Serafin Zamora, UCSB groundskeeper and executive board member for AFSCME.
Strikers rallied and marched from Storke Tower to Henley Gate, chanting phrases such as “Whose UC? Our UC!” and held signs that said “Standing Together for a Better UC” and “Where’s Yang?”
Michael Kile, a fourth-year chemistry major at UCSB, explained that flyers with a FAQ were used to intimidate workers before the May strike. The flyers, sent out by UC, contained questions such as, “Can I be fired for striking?” answered by, “Yes, if it is not a legal strike.”
“There’s more that they can do to support workers, and they’re not doing it. Instead, they’re being silent and it’s really saddening and frustrating as a student to see this,” said Ana Fabian, a fourth-year student intern for AFSCME.
“We come to an institution trying to learn more about these issues, but they’re happening right here right now.”
A version of this article appeared on page 5 of the April 11, 2019 edition of the Daily Nexus.
Arturo Martinez Rivera is an asst. news editor at the Daily Nexus. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.