94.1 F

Davis, California

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Unions heating up pressure on administration

In two separate protests held on Thursday and Sunday, unions representing UC employees attempted to relay their concerns to UC administrators.

UC Davis graduate student and union representative for United Auto Works 2865 Molly Ball, among 17 other students and five children, dropped by UC Davis’ Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Enrique Lavernia’s office around 2 p.m. on Thursday. UAW 2865 represents academic student employees like TAs and tutors. They were petitioning for an increase in the allowance granted for individuals who need childcare.

The allowance they are looking for is up to $300 per quarter of help for academic student employees working 25 percent time or more with children who are not of school age, Ball said.

“In order to meet the UAW’s demands about the childcare reimbursement, it would only cost the UC $75,000 because so few people who are under the contract actually use the childcare reimbursement, so it’s a very inexpensive demand,” Ball said.

The action was a coordinated effort across UC campuses on Thursday to get local school administrators to talk to UC officials. The group at UC Davis tried to get Lavernia to talk to UC Provost Lawrence Pitts, although their success is unclear. Lavernia couldn’t be reached for comment.

Contract negotiations are ongoing, with the current contract ending Friday.

The first major rain storm of the season didn’t deter about 20 members and supporters of the Coalition of University Employees (CUE)-Teamster union from holding a protest outside of the ARC Pavilion on Sunday. Protesters greeted people as they entered the Pavilion for a lunch hosted by Chancellor Linda Katehi.

The union represents clerical and administrative assistants, numbering around 14,000 across the UC system. According to the union, they have been without a new contract for two years, which has also resulted in no pay raises over the past three years.

“I was hired more than three years ago, and while there are 13 levels for my job classification, I am still at the lowest level. This is because the UC is purposefully keeping it’s employees at the lowest level possible because they don’t want to pay us any more money,” said Robert Dawa, who’s worked as an accounting assistant at UC Davis since 2007.

Bargaining began on May 13, but has failed to result in a new contract as of yet.

CUE recently affiliated itself with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, leading to a few representatives from the greater Sacramento area joining in the protest.

“We have great houses of research here,” said Lyle Smith, a field director for the Yolo County Democratic Central Committee, and a former CUE member from 2006-2009. “In order for us to have these great houses of learning, in order for us to have these great houses of research, these houses of accomplishment, we need to have a strong foundation. We can’t have a nice roof, we can’t have a nice steeple without a good foundation. And the foundation here is you guys, the CUE members.”

As with the protest on Thursday, the action was a part of a larger movement across California, with CUE-Teamsters showing up at a breakfast held by UC Berkeley administrators on Friday and a 5K race held by the UC San Diego chancellor on Saturday.

In a previous interview with The Aggie about UAW negotiations, Leslie Sepuka, media representative with the UC Office of the President, said the UC intends to work with the union.

“UC’s objective is to reach a multiyear agreement that recognizes the contributions Academic Student Employees make to UC’s teaching mission,” Sepuka said in an e-mail interview.

CECILIO PADILLA can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.


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