UC service, health workers across campuses rally for higher wages

Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3299 assembled at various University of California campuses on April 12, urging the UCs to increase wages for service and health workers.

AFSCME Local 3299 — a UC-wide union representing around 30,000 UC non-academic staff workers — called for a $25 minimum hourly wage and a 5% increase for campus employees already earning $25 or more an hour, UC Irvine’s student newspaper, New University, reported.

“Our workers are tired … They’re tired of having two and three jobs when they work for one of the premier institutions in the country,” Local 3299 Strategic Communications Director Frank Valdez told the Daily Bruin. “They feel like $25 an hour is a reasonable wage to start at, and up till now the UC just chooses not to.”

The union’s contract is not yet up for re-negotiation, but members are now advocating for the increase in wages to account for the rise of inflation in cost-of-living expenses since 2020, according to City on a Hill Press.

“[Workers] need this relief now. They need to be able to be on a path to economic prosperity. And while $25 an hour doesn’t truly fix everything, it’s a good place to start,” Valdez told New University.

“We, as a labor union, [recognize] that wages have not kept up with the dramatic rise of inflation over the past few years, especially during the pandemic … We recognize that workers across the University of California that do not make $25 an hour are struggling,” he continued. 

Members of Local 3299 emphasized to New University that the rally was not a strike and that union members will continue to work. They said that they will fight for the increase in wages through rallies and a strong presence at UC Regents’ meetings going forward.  

UCSD campus community celebrates groundbreaking of Viterbi Family Vision Research Center 

UC San Diego recently broke ground on the Viterbi Family Vision Research Center at Shiley Eye Institute. The research facility will be focused on treating conditions and diseases that affect vision loss, UC San Diego Today announced.

Various supporters, patients, friends and campus leaders joined Andrew Viterbi and his family at the event. Viterbi donated $50 million to UCSD in 2018 to support the creation of the center.

“We are grateful to Dr. Andrew Viterbi for his transformational generosity to create a hub for interdisciplinary ophthalmology with the Viterbi Family Vision Research Center,” UCSD Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla said in the news release. “With this investment, our leading-edge researchers will be empowered to conduct groundbreaking research to find new treatments and cures for vision loss and eye disease — and significantly advance healthcare around the world.”

The research center, set to be five stories and 100,000 square feet, will include laboratories, spaces to conduct clinical trials and educational areas to support research efforts.

A version of this article appeared on p. 2 of the April 20, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.


Alex Levin
Alex Levin (he/him) is the University News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Levin was the Assistant News Editor for the 2022-2023 school year. He can be reached at alexlevin@dailynexus.com.