Wednesday, September 19

Union workers stage protest over low wages for UC employees


News, UC


Teamsters members protested low wages by stopping traffic at Le Conte Avenue and Westwood Boulevard on Tuesday. They protested outside of the Luskin Conference Center earlier in October. (Aubrey Yeo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Teamsters members protested low wages by stopping traffic at Le Conte Avenue and Westwood Boulevard on Tuesday. They protested outside of the Luskin Conference Center earlier in October. (Aubrey Yeo/Daily Bruin senior staff)


Union members temporarily disrupted traffic in Westwood on Tuesday as they protested what they called low wages for University of California employees.

Teamsters Local 2010, the union representing administrative, clerical and skilled trades workers, held the protest a day after a study revealed that 70 percent of UC clerical workers are food insecure.

About 50 protesters stood at the intersection of Le Conte Avenue and Westwood Boulevard. Police officers diverted cars around the crowd of people.

[Related: UCLA skilled workers union calls for higher wages in protest]

Jason Rabinowitz, Teamsters’ secretary-treasurer, accused the university of engaging in wage theft.

“We’re not asking for the moon, we’re asking to be treated fairly,” Rabinowitz said.

Kelvin Craver, a facilities mechanic for UCLA Health, said he thinks workers should be paid higher wages for their work.

“We want to show the University that we are committed to making sure their properties run smoothly,” Craver said. “In return, we should get fair wages for it.”

The University has been negotiating with Teamsters for a new collective bargaining agreement for skilled trades workers since Aug. 30, said UCLA spokesperson Rebecca Kendall in a statement. She added UCLA and the bargaining unit for skilled trades workers have reached agreement on 28 articles and six appendices of the contract, after six meeting sessions.

“UCLA values the work of all of its employees and is eager to promptly reach a fair agreement,” Kendall said.

Kendall also said Teamsters proposed an overall 34 percent increase in employees’ base salaries in less than three years. Teamsters also made other non-economic proposals, including insourcing for all building and maintenance projects. Some building and maintenance projects cannot be insourced under the California Public Contract Code, Kendall added.

UCLA recently offered an 18.5 percent wage increase, which Teamsters rejected, that proposed resolution of all remaining contractual provisions and outstanding disputes, Kendall said.

She added in light of Teamsters’ rejection, UCLA passed a stand-alone wage proposal offering a 6.5 percent increase at ratification, 2.5 percent in 2017, and 2 percent increases in 2018, 2019 and 2020. UCLA’s most recent proposal does not include resolution of contractual provisions and outstanding disputes.

Kendall also disputed a Teamsters’ claim that UCLA has the resources to fund wage increases because it raised the recharge rate without raising worker pay. The recharge rate is the fee other campus departments pay to skilled trade workers for their work.

“The recharge rate charged to all campus customers is the actual pay for the employee plus the approved overhead rate,” Kendall said.

Facilities Management submits its budgets, which include a requested overhead rate. The requested overhead rate includes any anticipated increase in pay and employee benefits costs, Kendall added.

The parties will meet again on Oct. 20, 21, 26 and 27.

Contributing reports by Yiling Liu, Daily Bruin contributor.

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