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!
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.
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?
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!
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!