The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3299, the UC labor union representing over 24,000 employees, is striking for the second time this year. The first day of the strike resulted in closed dining halls and slowed campus operations at UC San Diego.
The union’s patient care technical workers, who provide support services at health facilities throughout the UC system, first voted to strike at all UC medical centers on October 11. The authorization to strike stemmed from stagnant negotiations between union members and the UC system regarding pay raises, outsourced labor, and racial disparities among workers. UC custodial, maintenance, and food service workers then voted to strike in solidarity.
The strike commenced at 4:00 a.m. yesterday. Of the six markets on campus, three of them—Earl’s Market, Goody’s Market, and John’s Market—were closed due to strike activity. The other three markets closed at 11:00 p.m., rather than their usual 1:00 a.m. closing time. HDH-run restaurants such as Foodworx, Goody’s Place, and Roots were also closed due to the strike.
Last spring, AFSCME Local 3299 organized its first strike of the year from May 7–9. During this strike, Housing Dining Hospitality (HDH) outsourced custodial labor to work in the residential halls on campus.
The second strike is scheduled to last until tomorrow. Members of the labor union wore AFSCME T-shirts or shirts in the union’s bright shade of green to honor the strike. Students and workers met at Gilman Parking Structure on campus and marched through several locations central to campus, including the Silent Tree at Geisel Library and the Student Services Center.
“It was encouraging to see how many students, especially incoming folks, are taking note of the labor issues on our campus,” said Associated Students of UCSD Organizing Director and AFSCME student representative Prajay Lolabattu. “I’m proud of students for demonstrating to workers and to the UC that our campus community…refuse[s] to be divided.”
Ella Chen is the News Editor of The Triton. You can follow her @cinder_ellachen.