About 500 workers, students and activists shut down the intersection at Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley on Wednesday morning, according to American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) 3299 spokesperson Todd Stenhouse.
“Monday of this week a bombshell report came out that highlighted that here at the University of California not only is there a widening income gap amongst its workforce but there are deep and widening racial and gender gaps,” Stenhouse said.
The demonstration was a response to the report, titled “Pioneering Inequality,” released by AFSCME 3299 on Monday. The report highlighted racial and gender disparities in the pay and treatment of UC workers. Key findings revealed disparities in starting wages for Black women who receive 10 to 23 percent lower wages than white men, a yearly difference of $3,946 to $15,785.
The shutdown of the intersection lasted about 40 minutes and took place on the 50 year anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis. Stenhouse said the demonstration was a direct response to the Pioneering Inequality report.
“[UC] is offering its most diverse workforce segments flat wages, benefit cuts and outsourcing of their jobs,” Stenhouse said. “So I guess the bargaining exercise at this point is a monument for the very inequality that King died standing up against 50 years ago that these workers came out to the streets to protest today.”
Protests also happened Wednesday afternoon at UC Los Angeles, according to AFSCME 3299 spokesperson John de los Angeles.