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Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Strike Update

Today is the final day of the UC service workers' strike. After five days of picketing across the state at 10 UC campuses and five medical centers, the 8500 striking workers will begin returning to their jobs at the end of the day.

According to a statement from AFSCME 3299:
"Though the strike has produced an outpouring of public and political support, UC executives have given no indication that they are willing to lift workers from poverty."
Those who listened to the Vanguard Radio Show on Wednesday, undoubtedly realize listening to both the representative from UC, Nicole Savickas, as well as a worker Matt Tidd, a UC Davis parking officer, that both sides remain far apart.

[To listen to the full Vanguard Radio Show from Wednesday, please click here]

One of the big questions is what will happen to the workers when they come back to work, most of them on Monday.

There have been threats made by UC officials about sanctions for those workers.

Elizabeth Meyer, director of UC Davis employee and labor relations called the strike illegal and suggested that workers could be disciplined.
"We're going to take appropriate discipline up to the fullest extent with the law and in accord with past practice."
Senator Leland Yee and other key legislators have pledged to stand by any UC worker who is unjustly disciplined by an executive on State payroll.

In a letter sent to UC President Mark Yudof, Senator Leland Yee wrote that he was “dismayed by the comments of Elizabeth Meyer and other UC spokespersons who have stated the administration will discipline striking workers to the ‘fullest extent.’”

The Senator wrote in a statement that was released on Tuesday:
“Service workers gave adequate notice of their strike and the law explicitly provides workers the right to strike for fair wages, working conditions, and basic equity. If even one worker is retaliated against or disciplined for exercising their right to strike, I will do everything in my power to appropriately respond to the University.”
Now we learn that State elected officials, many of whom walked the picket line, chastised UC executives for threatening to take disciplinary action against any worker who participated in the strike and thirty-four Assemblymembers wrote a letter to UC executives with their concerns that the threats were counterproductive to reaching a settlement.

On Wednesday the Vanguard reported that a Davis motorcycle officer had been pulling over and ticketing some of drivers who honked their horns in support of the strikers.

The Vanguard spoke to Police Chief Landy Black who confirmed that people had been pulled over for honking their horns, but told us that no tickets had been written for such offenses.

He cited California Vehicle Code as justification for the action by his officers.
California Code: Vehicle Code "27001. (a) The driver of a motor vehicle when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation shall give audible warning with his horn. (b) The horn shall not otherwise be used, except as a theft alarm system which operates as specified in Article 13 (commencing with Section 28085) of this chapter."
Apparently neighbors called into the police complaining about the noise from the honking vehicles.

As someone else pointed out, a lot of the people who live off of College Park Drive work in the University Administration including Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef, so it is little surprise that they might complain about motorists using their horns in support of the striking workers.

This is probably a good example of a case where the police should use their discretion as to whether this constitutes a real public safety risk and a true nuisance to residents, or if this is an attempt by some to silence people whose views they do not agree with.

Nevertheless, the fact that apparently no tickets were issued puts this in the realm of a curiosity rather than a huge issue.

The Vanguard will have more on the strike in the coming days as we look at the impact of the strike and the prospects that a settlement might be reached at some point.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting