California education workers militant and in motion

Striking AFSCME 3299 education workers in San Francisco at UC Hastings College of the Law.

John Parker, socialist candidate for Senate, at UCLA, in support of education workers’ strike.

After months of negotiations, the University of California Service Workers, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, called a statewide three-day strike from May 7 to 9 due to lack of good faith bargaining by UC management.

Joining them in sympathy strikes were AFSCME patient care workers, the California Nurses Association, and the University Professional and Technical Employees. This was a massive show of statewide solidarity, as all together they represent 53,000 UC workers across California.

The striking service workers at all UC campuses and medical centers statewide do such work as provide transcripts, help with information technology issues, schedule classes, catalog library materials, help with administrative needs, and coordinate health services and clinics.

Local 3299 is asking for a 6 percent yearly raise, a freeze on health care premiums, and an end to outsourcing jobs their members are trained for. Kathryn Lybarger, lead gardener at UC Berkeley and president of the local, noted that jobs are being outsourced to “low-wage contract workers, which contributes to widening inequality for workers who are women, immigrants and people of color.” (Payday Report, May 5)

In Los Angeles, 94 percent of public school bus drivers, cafeteria workers, special education assistants, custodians and other workers voted to go on strike May 15 if necessary to win respect and a fair contract from the LA school district. A week before the strike date, SEIU Local 99’s determination won a new three-year contract. Local 99 used petitions, informational picket lines, sticker-ups, rallies, protests at school board meetings and unity to win.

Education workers across the country are on the move for decent wages and working conditions so that, in addition to taking care of their students, they can go home and take care of their own families.

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