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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday Strike Update

The strike will continue today for a third day. There were a number of interesting developments yesterday.

Community members from across the state donated groceries and provided food assistance to the strikers who are struggling to make ends meet to begin with and now face disciplinary action for the striking.

UC President Mark Yudof who has just literally taken over in that position, has threatened to take action against the workers for conducting an illegal strike. Mr. Yudof was hired at a beginning salary of $828,084--a salary nearly twice what his predecessor received. With benefits, he receivers nearly one million per year. Yudof quipped at a press conference, “As you can see from my compensation package, I'm not starving to death."

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."
In a letter sent to UC President Mark Yudof, Senator Leland Yee writes that he is “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 press release yesterday:
“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.”
One thing that Mr. Yee might suggest is reforming the UC system. UC Regents are largely unaccountable officials, appointed by the Governor. The legislature could move to increase their accountability by putting limits on their term and making them up for reappointment every two to four years. In addition, the amount of money that the UC President receives is beyond absurd. People complain about the demands of people making $10 per hour. The UC President makes almost as much in a month as these workers make in FOUR YEARS.

The Vanguard yesterday evening received an interesting report from one of the AFSCME 3299 organizers. There is a large contingent of strikers at the corner of Russell and College. As cars pass by, they will often honk in support of the cause. However, apparently a Davis Police Officer on a motorcycle began pulling people over for honking and issuing them tickets. According to this organizer, he saw at least three people given tickets for honking in support of the strike. The Vanguard will be investigating this matter and may have more to report later on.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting