This post was updated Oct. 29 at 11:14 p.m.
A University of California employee union rallied for the second day around Westwood, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and Wilshire Boulevard.
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, the UC’s largest employee union, began striking on campus Tuesday and will end Thursday. It is protesting the UC’s outsourcing of jobs. AFSCME Local 3299 represents more than 25,000 service workers and patient care technicians. The union previously held a three-day strike in May over claims that the UC perpetuates gender-based and racial discrimination in its hiring and wage practices.
Protesters sat in the middle of Wilshire Boulevard from Gayley Avenue to Westwood Boulevard during the day and complied when the Los Angeles Police Department requested they leave after a short period of time, said UCPD Lt. Kevin Kilgore.
Students said they supported the workers and liked how they were defending their values.
Hannah Brenchley, a fourth-year political science and public affairs student, said she thinks the UC should respect the diversity of AFSCME Local 3299 workers.
“There’s so much to learn about the labor movement and why … all these wage disparities (exist). For example, (certain genders and races) are denied access to certain kinds of jobs and we’re supposed to be a liberal university,” she said. “It’s time that we re-examine things and I’m here to support that re-examination.”
UC spokesperson Danielle Smith said the university takes issues of equity seriously and encourages employees to report unfair treatment. She added that while UC may not be immune to societal issues that cause gender and race wage differences, administration can respond to complaints.
Alexandra Ortega, a first-year biology student, said she supported the strikers for standing up for what they believe in.
“My mom, she works in food services too at school districts and she’s part of a union, so I kind of know a lot about outsourcing and I agree … outsourcing does affect the benefits for the workers and does reduce the pays,” she said.
UC said in a media statement the university has not increased spending on outside service contracts, contrary to what AFSCME leaders say.
Brandon Sanchez, a first-year biology student, said he thinks having access to late-night restaurants and all eight dining halls is a luxury and not a living necessity.
“I honestly don’t mind if it’s for a good cause. I know other people complain about not having late-night options or full menus but it’s OK to me,” he said. “I think it’s good that they’re actually standing up for what they believe in and they’re doing something about their situation right now.”