University students will join campus custodial workers and other UCSB employees in a one-day strike today from the East Gate to Storke Tower, in solidarity with UC service workers who have been protesting UC wages and working conditions for over a year now.
The demonstration comes in light of an ongoing labor dispute between the UC and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees 3299, a UC patient and care service worker union. AFSCME 3299 has been disputing wages and pension benefits with the UC since October 2012 and the union announced their intention to strike earlier this month, on grounds of illegal intimidation and harassment by superiors, according to AFSCME spokesperson Todd Stenhouse. Led by AFSCME 3299 campus representatives, today’s protest will also include the efforts of the Student & Worker Coalition and United Students Against Sweatshops. The strike will run from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will feature a rally at Storke Tower at noon.
AFSCME campus representative Dale Howard said the strike is a response to what union workers claim are unsafe staffing levels, as well as alleged illegal attempts to “scare” workers “into silence.” Howard said students should stand in solidarity with workers, honor picket lines and help build this social movement.
“Many people will join AFSCME 3299 in the strike, including students from the campus as well as UAW members [graduate students] who will be striking in sympathy with our members,” Howard said.
He said the strike aims to inform students about “the disturbing message that UC has been sending about its priorities.”
“These public servants are the lowest paid in the UC system, yet they are the people who make UCSB a safe, clean place to learn and thrive,” Howard said. “If staffing conditions create an unsafe environment on campus, students need to know.”
In light of the strike, today’s Associated Students Senate meeting will discuss a resolution to support UCSB employees, amongst other issues.
A version of this story appeared on page 3 of the Wednesday, November 20, 2013 issue of the Daily Nexus.