Union members and their supporters held a rally in front of Cheadle Hall yesterday and delivered a petition to Chancellor Henry T. Yang’s office demanding higher wages.
About 30 student supporters and UCSB workers from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union presented the petition to the chancellor that carried approximately 125 employee signatures. AFSCME Executive Vice President Julian Posadas said the petition encourages Yang to conduct a survey comparing wages of UCSB workers to those of employees at other schools in the area.
Administrative Services Vice Chancellor Donna Carpenter accepted the petition in place of Yang, who was in Sacramento.
Carpenter said salary issues were an important priority for her, but said the state determines how much money UCSB gets to fund public employees.
“It’s a funding problem,” Carpenter said. “We’re evaluating anything we, as a campus, can do to help salaries.”
According to Carpenter, UC workers received a 4.5 percent increase in their salaries on Oct. 1 of this year.
However, Posadas said the increase – which is meant to address the discrepancy between cost of living and salary – is not enough.
AFSCME’s current contract with the UC expires in January. Posadas said the union is currently at the bargaining table for a new systemwide contract with the University. He also said workers felt slighted when the UC Regents proposed to raise the salary of the system’s chancellors at their meeting last week. Posadas said he wanted to use the petition to make sure the UC understood their concerns.
“It is embarrassing to know we make two to three dollars an hour less than surrounding workers,” Posadas said.
Additionally, Posadas said higher pay is important for workers so that parents are able to devote more time to their children.
“You pay your workers decent wages and they will spend more time with their families,” Posadas said. “They won’t have to spend more time at work and find support from somewhere else.”
AFSCME member Carlos Orellana said that UC service employees make less than other employees at California State Universities and community colleges.
“[Service workers] at the city of Lompoc start at $3,200 a month,” Orellana said. “When UC workers are hired, we start at $2,300 a month. UC workers do the hardest work and are paid the lowest.”
While AFSCME and the UC are still in negotiations, Orellana said he would like to see an 8 percent increase in wages for next year.
At the University, AFSCME represents employees from various fields including clerical, maintenance, technical, administrative and some teaching.