USA Catching Fire of Mass Walkouts: 24,000 University of California Employees to Strike on May 7-10

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Previously, the Typical Student team covered the US teacher strikes predicting which state is to be hit by the wave of protests. Little did we know about the intentions of the University of California healthcare and service workers to set the strike dates for May 7-10. As reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune, the strikes are initiated by university staff together with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

 

The total of 24,000 nurses and healthcare workers, including the service workers are to participate in the walkout. About 15,000 people are employees working across 6 University of California campuses. Their main goal is “to find common ground on a range of issues from wage increases to job outsourcing.”

 

 

What Does UC Have to Do With the AFSCME Strikes?

 

In the official statement issued by AFSCME, the University of California administration has been accused of trying block the strike by all means. As the statement quotes, the UC Administrators tried to “silence workers who are exercising their legal right to speak up against widening inequality at the university.”

 

UC says it has offered annual raises of 3% for 4 years to service workers, from custodians to medical technicians of various types. However, these conditions did not suffice with the protestors, since the high cost of living in Cali demands a raise of 6% per year. Across all of the UC campuses, the university requested that 618 employees would refrain from taking part in the protests due to being hard to replace.

 

California: Barely Escaping Teacher Strikes

 

As reported by the Washington Post, California narrowly escaped teacher strikes this April by reaching the landmark union agreement with K12 Inc. Educators at the 9 independent for-profit California Virtual Academies (CAVA), won a contract more than 4 years ago, trying to unionize. As a result, they will get a pay raises of nearly 18% and “scheduled salary raises, caseload caps and binding arbitration.”

 

According to California Virtual Educators United spokesperson, the CAVA teachers were afraid to strike for fear of losing their jobs. However, they became “really inspired” seeing how their fellow teachers from West Virginia demanded better conditions, which “is more important than the possibility of getting laid off.”

 

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