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Davis, California

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

UC Davis students, union members hold on-campus protest calling for minimum-wage increase

The AFSCME 3299 protesters are demanding a $25 minimum wage for all UC student workers


By JADE BELL — campus@theaggie.org


On Wednesday, May 17, AFSCME 3299 members protested at the Hutchison Intramural Field to demand an increase in University of California (UC) student-worker wages to $25 per hour. 

This protest was advertised as being in response to planned pay increases for certain UC staff employees, as well as a recent $500,000 raise for UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla. According to an article by the San Diego Union-Tribune, the raise was put in place to keep Khosla from leaving UCSD for a position at a private university and is being covered entirely by private donations. 

Emily Wong, a fourth-year sociology major and a member of AFSCME 3299, shared the general goals of AFSCME and their belief in the importance of the minimum wage increase. 

“We are asking the university to raise the base minimum wage to $25 an hour because inflation is insanely high in California,” Wong said. “It’s getting really expensive to meet our basic needs to be able to afford our groceries, afford our rent [and] to afford gas. The UC is just not supporting workers.”

Brett Pelletier, a third-year psychology major, said that he works two jobs in order to help him afford to live on campus.

I work at the Arts Administration as a student assistant, and I work at the UC Davis Bookstore as a rush cashier,” Pelletier said. “I work two jobs because one job doesn’t give enough hours. The student assistant job is only six hours per week. The rush cashier job, […] I think it ranges from 10 hours to 20 hours a week. I have to work two jobs because, if not, I wouldn’t be able to afford living on campus because it’s expensive.”

Sophia Sarieva, a wildlife, fish, and conservation biology major, shared their experience as a student worker at the CoHo and said that they hope other students will join the AFSCME cause.

“I’m a supervisor in the kitchen, [and] it really helps to see everyone feel like, ‘Okay, yeah, we all feel the same way,’” Sarieva said. “I hope that some more of my coworkers come out here too, [but] I worry that they don’t think actual change is possible. I hope that I can find more ways to be able to support them and know that they are supported.”

Written by: Jade Bell – campus@theaggie.org