Successful action at UC Berkeley

As scheduled, rank-and-file members of UAW 2865 and their student allies gathered at Sather Gate for a brief rally before marching past California Hall and then taking to the streets.  We marched through campus and right down the middle of Center Street before meeting up with our clerical worker comrades and fellow rally organizers in CUE/Teamsters.  Also in attendance were members of AFSCME, AFT, UPTE, and a couple surprise guests from ILWU Local 6.

Before marching up to the Labor Relations office on the 7th floor, we held a short rally/speak-out.  During the rally we learned from an insider that the UAW bargaining team was about to concede to an effective pay cut in real terms.  As soon as we hear anything definitive we’ll post it without delay.

Prepare for a no vote!

If these bureaucrats won’t declare a strike, we’ll do it for them!

Member of ILWU Local 6 shows love to UC workers

After the rally and a series of chants, we marched up to the 7th floor of the off-campus Labor Relations office, located right behind the Downtown Berkeley BART.  As we approached the front door, two bureaucrats who were ostensibly leaving for their lunch break ran back into the office and slammed the door before locking it.  It only took a few minutes for the pigs to arrive.

Pigs keep us out of the Labor Relations office

A pig films the crowd in an effort to intimidate UC workers

After chanting in the hall for awhile, the LR office finally sent out one of their running dogs, a LR “advocate” by the name of Ken Philippi.  After one of our comrades from UPTE asked him about the outsourcing taking place on our campus, this fool had the nerve to reply that it would be unwise to pay workers $30/hour if there are people willing to do the same labor for $10/hour.  This from a man who makes $97,000/year.  Who said the bourgeoisie doesn’t read Capital?

Filippi calls a member of the UC's bargaining team to deliver our demands

After overcoming his initial reluctance with a little help from the more than 50 workers in attendance, we got Filippi to call Peter Chester, one of the UC’s lead bargainers.  In the name of UAW and CUE/IBT we had him read our central demands and agree to deliver the following letter to the Director of Labor Relations at Berkeley:

To Debra Harrington Director Labor Relations UC Berkeley:

We are students of UC Berkeley, graduate and undergraduate, Academic Student Employees, members of UAW 2865 and clerical workers, members of CUE-Teamsters Local 2010. We are here today, as bargaining between the UC and UAW 2865 takes place in Los Angeles, to demand fair contracts for all UC workers.

The clerical workers at UC have been without a contract since 2008. We have not had a pay increase since 2007. Now, we are facing further losses of income through threatened cuts to the pension system and decreases in retirement benefits.

Academic Student Employees have been in negotiations with UC since spring 2010 and though our contract was originally set to expire on September 30th, we are still waiting for an agreement. Twice now UC has come to the table without the authority or means to negotiate with our union.

Both cases reveal the utter lack of respect UC has for its employees, for the service and support that clerical workers provide to our academic programs and for the teaching performed by ASEs. The working conditions of ASEs and clerical workers are the learning conditions of UC’s students! We are here as union members and as students to demand:

– Fair contracts now for UAW and CUE! Stop stalling, bargain in good faith with our unions!

– A fair wage increase.

– No cuts to our Pensions.

– A real childcare subsidy for student parents.

– No fee hikes and layoffs!

Obviously we are under no illusion that this stooge can do a damn thing for us.  The point of course was to let the bargaining team — ours and theirs — know that the rank-and-file are mobilized and ready to do this.

And bonus: we obtained Peter Chester’s cell phone number.

All in all the action was a success.  In the case that our bargaining team sells us out, we’ll reject their agreement with a resounding no vote!  We look forward to hearing the details of our counterparts’ action at UCSC earlier today.  We heard from a participant that roughly 50 workers marched into Kerr Hall and refused to leave until a bureaucrat delivered their message to Peter Chester.

Update: Below are a few pictures from the Santa Cruz grade-in.  We heard that between 30 and 50 people took part in the action.  Let’s continue to build cross-campus solidarity!

Taking it inside Kerr Hall

We should mention too that laughably (but not unexpectedly) the Daily Cal is reporting that the turnout for this action is close to double that of the grade-in we held last week (which was close to triple the size of today’s action!).

Keep an eye out for updates on both the UCSC action and the results of today’s UAW bargaining session in LA.  If no agreement is reached, a strike looks likely, but we wouldn’t be surprised in the least if these careerists sold us out for a position in the union bureaucracy.

That is why we have already begun mobilizing for a no vote.

Vote no in the case of this “agreement”!

UAW bargaining team: stop selling out the rank-and-file!

Enough is enough, it’s time for a strike!


3 responses to “Successful action at UC Berkeley

  1. Pingback: Successful actions at UC Berkeley and Santa Cruz (via THOSE WHO USE IT) « UCSC (Grad) Student Organizing Committee

  2. Hello from Los Angeles. I am part of the LA March 4th Committee to Defend Public Education and Social Services. What you are doing in teh UC and UC Berkeley is inspiring! Please continue to show militantcy in our fight against the cuts.

    Today the California State University Board of Trustees (CSU BOT) voted for a 15% increase in tuition. Although there was an uproar from the student community yesterday ( people who protested during the meeting yesterday broke back into the meeting) today-when the cuts were being voted on we were faced with our own lack of preparedness. The union bureacracy and their student front group Students for Educational (SQE) Reform were the only force there. And they were not a real force

    SQE- I am sure with the guidance of the California Faculty Association(CFA) had a CARNIVAL against the cuts. They had balloons, hoolahoops, and other various games to play. This while on the other side of the wall the Board is voting to increase tuition by 15%. There was no resistance inside.

    This is not how we are going to win the battle against the cuts! The Berkeley GSIs who are fighting to shut their campus down, November Regents meeting at UCLA, Wheeler Hall are examples of militantcy that we need to extend and repeat.

    What else can we learn from this easy defeat. That the administrators of education are taking advantage of a weak moment in the movement. The last education conference was smaller than the first. This was because the conferences were focused on setting a next date of action and other parlimentary issues. LA M4 fought for adding “social services” on our title and including an end to racism, sexism, homophobia and, class discrimination in our demands for example.

    However, if our conferences continue to be about political jockeying for which political group is going to control the conference then we will continue to shrink. If our conferences do not address the developments in different sectors and regions of work we will continue to spend hours long meetings with people we do not know. If lunch time is the only time to discuss political ideas, disagreements etc then we will continue to shrink.

    Lastly, there has been discussion in LA (indirectly) about who and how we organize. Should we organize only students, workers on campus or include workers who are not on the campus. In Los Angeles for example we have made concerted efforts to orient towards the immigrant rights struggle and unite it with the education struggle. We have also intervened when the police murdered Manuel Jamines pointing out the connection between cuts in services and increased State terror. Lastly, we flyered for October 7th at the Department of Social Services when the cuts to social services were handed down. We will continue to go to the DPSS to also involved community support.

    Another point: in Los Angeles we had a huge fight against the union bureacracy in particular the leadership of the United Teacheres of Los Angeles (UTLA) who represent K-12 teachers and the California Faculty Association (CFA) who represent Cal State Teachers. They attempted for example to keep me from speaking on the podium although I was elected to represent the LA March 4th Committee by our organization.

    We smashed on those bureacrats! They were forced to back down. This was because we had rank and file support. We went to union meetings and spoke with the rank and file. We organized ourselves as well at campuses and universities.

    That discussion was missing from last weeks conference. When we plan our conferences we all made the mistake of not pushing the issue of politics over pragmatics. That was reflected in the lack of attendance at this past meeting and the ability for a freakin CARNIVAL to be the only visible protest against the cuts! If we recruit the janitors or support staff to our movement there would have been a completely different character to the protest and we could learn something from rank and file organizing.

    Solidarity with the student worker movement!
    Solidarity with the Graduate Students who are organizing for a fight back!

    Get ready for the Regents meeting

    Julia Wallace
    Member of the LA March 4th Committee to Defend Public Education and Social Services.

  3. Pingback: UAW apparatchiks try their hand at astroturfing | THOSE WHO USE IT

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