As offices around campus shut down and cars honked to support strikers Monday, UCSB made it through the first of three days without many of its clerical workers and lecturers.
Strikers and their supporters came equipped with noisemakers and homemade signs to demonstrate against University bargaining practices. About 400 people participated in the Monday strike, according to UCSB Coalition of University Employees President Debbie Ceder. Monday was the first day of C.U.E.’s planned three-day walkout and the University Council-American Federation of Teachers’ two-day walkout, which coincide with strikes at four other UC campuses.
“I hope it will show the University that we are tired of them stalling at the bargaining table.” Ceder said. “We want them to treat us fairly.”
The strikers, comprised of faculty, lecturers, students and employees, wanted to make known their frustration over contract negotiations with the University administration. The two unions have been working without a contract and say the process with the University system has come to an impasse not only for UCSB employees, but those of other UC campuses as well.
“Berkeley had their strike in August but right now there are four campuses involved in this two- or three-day strike,” Global Studies Undergraduate Advisor Jodi Cutler said. “It’s not just local.”
UC Spokesman Paul Schwartz said in an Associated Press story that the University views the strikes as illegal and if any disciplinary action is eventually needed, it would be addressed at each campus individually.
“At this point, the UC has pretty much done what it can,” Schwartz said in the AP story. “The state’s view is that the appropriate place to resolve the differences is at the bargaining table, not on the street corner or at campus plazas.”
C.U.E., which has filed a number of unfair labor practice charges against the UC, has said striking against organizations that have conducted unfair labor practices is legal.
The UCSB campus did continue to run Monday, partly due to the fact that the university already made preparations for reduced campus services.
The Student Health Center, which normally sees around 200 patients a day, made arrangements for the strike by announcing that only emergency cases would be handled. However, more employees than expected arrived at work Monday morning, enabling the center to see some non-emergency patients.
Although the Orfalea Family Children’s Center takes care of 175 kids on a normal day, only 40 arrived on Monday. About half of the center’s workers are C.U.E. members and were picketing Monday, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Paul Desruisseaux said.
Many classes in the College of Letters and Science, containing over 80 percent of undergraduate students, continued to run as usual, Desruisseaux said.
Some classes went out to the picket lines to show solidarity with strikers. Freshman history major Jorge Gonzales said his whole sociology discussion group joined the lines instead of having section.
“We wanted to show we have their back,” he said.
FedEx and UPS “respected” the picket line by delivering UCSB-bound parcels to an off-site location, where university personnel picked them up.
Children’s Center employee Mary Laperriere said when she and about 50 other strikers went to the chancellor’s floor of Cheadle Hall to distribute strike information, the workers she met there were “wonderful.”
“I shook Henry [Yang]’s hand and he said, ‘let me give you a hug,'” Laperriere said. “And so that was really nice. I feel like he is supporting us as well.”
Other strikers demonstrated the distance they felt from administration through bullhorns in front of Cheadle Hall, and by shouting such things as, “come on down here, Henry, we’ve got T-shirts and buttons for you!”