Editor, Daily Nexus,

In reference to articles that have appeared recently in local publications, I would like to comment on negotiations between Local 3299 at UCSB and the powers that be, who determine wages for its blue-collar workers.

My husband works for the UCSB Facilities Management Grounds & Custodial Services. It is not open for debate that without the conscientious work of these employees, few parents of prospective students would consider sending their children to this institution, which boasts an aesthetic and pristine ambience. Yet sadly, workers’ wages fall between 14 and 30 percent lower than their peers who hold jobs in the Santa Barbara market.

To survive in Santa Barbara, statistics reflect the necessity of an income between $65,000 and $80,000 to sustain a “modest” standard of living. Workers in the grounds and custodial department at UCSB subsist on incomes in the $30,000s. It fills me with despair to stand in a grocery aisle and contemplate whether our family can afford a loaf of bread and other staples on any given day. It is common knowledge that such commodities as food and gas have skyrocketed in the past year, yet UCSB officials have not compensated their employees with adequate cost of living increases.

Local 3299 has consistently approached the Chancellor’s office, the director of Human Resources, the Administrative Services Vice Chancellor and the Associate Vice Chancellor of Facilities Management to request that which is rightfully theirs. They deserve dignity and respect reflected in decent and fair compensation for often backbreaking work. There have been idle promises of their compensation for months, with no concrete manifestation.

Recently workers were appalled to discover that: “University of California regents are weighing a proposal to increase their top executives [the chancellors] pay by an average of 33 percent over the next four years.” (“UC Weighs raises of 33% for all 10 chancellors,” Sacramento Bee, Nov. 13). For UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgenau, such an increase would raise his annual salary from $416,000 to $553,280. Our own Chancellor Yang will also receive a considerable raise, along with the other perks that he already enjoys. Yet officials have told our union that they don’t have the funds to properly compensate them!

Where is the justice in all this? Please contact the previously mentioned authorities and voice your concern about this unconscionable dilemma.