The struggle for better wages is a never-ending fight many Americans battle with all over the country. Here in southern California, research and technical workers unite in solidarity to negotiate wage-increase and benefits. On Wed. March 20th, thousands of workers were a part of the one-day strike that took place across the state. Democratic representative of San Diego, Scott Peters, joined strikers at UC San Diego’s Jacobs Medical Center, which remained open, alongside UC San Diego.
“Since negotiations began in 2017, our offers have been fair and substantial, guaranteeing competitive wage increases and excellent benefits,” one representative of the university said.
Rallies held at UC Los Angeles also supported the cause with 10,000 union members who are in charge of clinical trials and lab testing. Bernie Sanders, the democratic Senator of Vermont, attended to show support and discussed the fight for wages.
“It is a sad state of affairs when people who work at this university cannot live in this community because they cannot afford to buy housing or pay the rent,” Sanders said.
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union represented up to 27,ooo workers. University Professional & Technical Employees (UPTE) also represented 10,000 workers and according to officials, 5,000 healthcare workers were planning to attend.
“UPTE leaders have neither presented a realistic counteroffer nor allow their members to vote on UC’s proposals,” said the same representative of UCSD.
Workers with UPTE argue that the most recent wage offer is less than what California Nurses Association have been given, and UPTE workers also received retirement cuts.
In October and May of 2018, employees of AFSCME went on strike as well.
“UPTE struck twice in solidarity with us last year, and now is our time to support them, because they are fighting for same things we are, and an injury to one is an injury to all,” AFSCME’s FAQ about the strike said.
Even with a one-day strike taking place, the university’s student services, patient care and university communities remained open. Any change in wages for workers are yet to be announced and potential future strikes have not been reported.