UC Laborers Union Protest Pay Wage

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Protesters gather in the Quarry Plaza demanding secure pension and increased salary. Photo by Calyse Tobias.
Protesters gather in the Quarry Plaza demanding secure pension and increased salary. Photo by Calyse Tobias.

About 30 protesters representing the Teamsters Local 2010 union of over 14,000 UC clerical and administrative employees gathered in Quarry Plaza on Aug. 16, denouncing the two-month bargaining delay for a wage contract and demanding better salary and a secure pension.

“[The UC] has tens of billions of dollars in reserve […] are their top administrators going broke? Hell no,” said Local 2010 Secretary-Treasurer Jason Rabinowitz. “Here they are making millions, while our folks are working hard, getting paid less and less for more and more work.”

Local 2010 has been protesting at various UCs in response to the UC pension opt out and continual decreased wages. The same day of the protest, the UC negotiations occurred in Santa Cruz, and the UC responded to the union with a proposal of a 1.5 percent annual wage raise for five years.

“That’s not even enough to cover inflation,” Rabinowitz said. “The real cost of living in a place like Santa Cruz is [worse]. Is rent up 2 percent? No, rent is up 10 to 20 percent, and they want to offer 1.5 percent? That’s ridiculous.”

Just days before, Local 2010 met with UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal, who agreed to have the unions review the UCSC budget and hold a public forum where students, workers and the community could discuss their issues. _mg_3394-1However, Blumenthal did not formally support their demand for contract negotiations.

“I believe that UCSC employees should be offered a living wage, and that it is the represented employees’ rights to advocate for this at the bargaining table,” Blumenthal said in an email. “Chancellors across the UC system use their influence to affect policy at a systemwide level, and I am committed to advocating for our campus and employees in this venue, as appropriate.”

The protesters, along with some students, maintain that they will continue demanding wage increases and retirement pensions. Local 2010 communications coordinator Christian Castro said that negotiations will continue for the next few months, if not longer.

“When it comes to something like wages, we don’t expect it to change,” Castro said. “We don’t see an agreement happening in the months. It’s going to be a longer fight than that.”