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University of California workers gather in protest for fair compensation

Protesters gathered outside the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on Thursday. They held signs and called for higher wages to appropriately compensate for their work. (Esther Ma/Daily Bruin staff)

By Maanas Hemanth Oruganti

March 17, 2022 5:31 p.m.

This post was updated March 27 at 11:54 p.m.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on Thursday to express concerns about benefits and compensation for University of California employees. 

Starting around noon, protesters from Teamsters Local 2010 – representing more than 14,000 UC and California State University clerical and administrative workers – demanded they be paid fairly for their work. Protesters gathered near the intersection of Westwood Plaza and Charles E. Young Drive. 

Several protesters waved signs outside the medical center, including those that read “Pay UC Workers Enough To Live,” “Our Work Makes ‘UC’ Work” and  “Fair Increase Now!”

Ali Tweini, the recording secretary of Teamsters Local 2010 and a protester, said he believed the employees who came to UCLA to work during the pandemic were not being fairly compensated.

“We deserve what our members desire – good pay for the essential work that they do. Nothing less than that,” Tweini said. 

[Related link: UCLA skilled trades workers make progress in contract negotiations with university

UC Office of the President spokesperson Ryan King said in an emailed statement that the UC is committed to continuing to pay fair wages and providing benefits for all of its employees.

“Compensating personnel fairly at all levels is essential to maintaining the excellence of UC’s workforce, and to meeting the commitments to those the University serves,” King said in the emailed statement. 

According to the UC, the current contract resulted in pay increases totaling 18% for the past five years. 

Laura Newman, a member of the Skilled Trades bargaining team of Teamsters Local 2010 and a protester, said the gathering aimed to show UCLA how many people supported the bargaining team’s demands for higher compensation. 

Newman added that the team is bargaining to increase salaries for workers to compensate for current inflation rates. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Los Angeles experienced more than 7% inflation in February 2022 compared to February 2021.

“Anything less … is a pay cut. And our co-workers can’t afford that,” Newman said.” They’re already working two and three jobs trying to supplement their income.” 

She added the team has also worked to change their contract’s language to ensure workers’ safety concerns can be effectively addressed. 

Teamsters Local 2010 also held rallies Thursday at UC San Diego and UC Santa Cruz as a part of its Weeks of Action campaign from Monday to Friday to protest for higher wages and more benefits for UC workers, according to its website.  

Contributing reports from Esther Ma, Daily Bruin staff.

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Maanas Hemanth Oruganti | Alumnus
Oruganti was the 2021-2022 city and crime editor. He was also the 2020-2021 Enterprise editor and a News staff writer in the City & Crime and Science & Health beats 2020. He was also a fourth-year cognitive science student at UCLA.
Oruganti was the 2021-2022 city and crime editor. He was also the 2020-2021 Enterprise editor and a News staff writer in the City & Crime and Science & Health beats 2020. He was also a fourth-year cognitive science student at UCLA.
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