Sunday, March 29

UCLA union employees stage sit in at chancellor’s office

Members of Teamsters Local 2010, the union representing skilled trades, administrative and clerical workers at UCLA, asked to speak with Chancellor Gene Block on Friday afternoon. (Erin Gong/Daily Bruin)

About 30 UCLA employees crowded into the waiting room of the chancellor’s office Friday afternoon asking to speak with him about their contract negotiations.

Members of Teamsters Local 2010, the union representing UCLA skilled trades workers and University of California clerical and administrative workers, used their lunch break to occupy Chancellor Gene Block’s office, asking him to authorize negotiations on terms for a contract with skilled trades workers.

UCLA and Teamsters started negotiations for a contract for skilled trades workers in August, and both parties agree on more than half the contract, according to a UCLA statement.

UCLA spokesperson Kathryn Kranhold said in a statement Teamsters and UCLA met Thursday and will meet again for bargaining negotiations Feb. 3.

“Presently, UCLA’s offer includes a 12.5 percent increase upon ratification, a 2.25 percent signing bonus, plus 3 percent wage increases each year from 2017 to 2020,” she added.

Teamsters has said the value of its workers’ wages has declined 24 percent over the past 20 years and 70 percent of its members are food insecure, according to an Occidental College study. They have also said skilled trades workers have not received a raise in four years. The university said this is because the union that used to represent skilled trades workers did not bargain in good faith and left the bargaining table before reaching a contract.

Kranhold said UCLA’s most recent wage proposals would have made UCLA skilled trades workers the highest paid employees in their category at four-year colleges and universities in Southern California.

Representatives from UCLA Labor Relations told the Teamsters in Block’s office they think contract negotiations should take place at the bargaining table.

Annette Vidal, a Teamsters member who works at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, said she participated in the sit-in because she wants Block to know about the difficulties she and other employees have paying bills and getting enough food.

“It’s been difficult for me to come up with the money for meals,” Vidal said. “One time I had to go to my mom and dad’s place for a meal because I’d just had a heart attack and was still paying bills for the ambulance and hospital.”

She added she knew others who receive food stamps or have to buy groceries with credit cards.

Teamsters held a five-day strike for skilled trades workers at UCLA in early January. It also held a one-day strike across the UC system Jan. 10 for administrative and clerical workers, who are also negotiating a new contract.

“UCLA looks forward to further negotiations and reaching agreement with Teamsters Local 2010 on a contract that provides the skilled trades employees with fair wage increases,” Kranhold said.

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