UC Patient Care Workers Strike for Safe Staffing and Respect on the Job

Article by Tlaloc Vasquez

The strike is set to go from 4am Tuesday until 4am Thursday in front of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. The strike is a last resort for UC Patient Care workers after negotiations with the University of California (UC) failed to produce a contract that both sides could agree on. UC Patient Care Workers strike for safe staffing and respect on the job; they want a just contract that supports pensions, living wages and job security.

According to the Facebook Group entitled Student Solidarity for UC Patient Care Workers’ Strike!!, “The UC Patient Care worker strike will be taking place May 21st and 22nd! We are asking students to gather at 4:30PM ON TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY to join workers on the picket line in front of Ronald Reagan Medical Center. Then we will be having a rally at 6pm!”

UCLA is not alone in this action. 13,000 patient care workers at the 5 UC Medical Centers (Los Angeles, Davis, Irvine, San Diego and San Francisco) will be going on strike. They will be joined by over 8,500 service workers and another 3,400 hospital technical workers across the UC system. Students and workers are asking people to wear green in solidarity with UC Workers on Tuesday and Wednesday.

These workers are the heart of the living organism that is the University of California. They are vital to the vast functions of each UC campus and hospital as they maintain the aesthetic beauty of our campuses and care for thousands of hospital patients year after year. Simply put, without these workers the UC system would not exist.

The paid spokesman for the UC that you will see on the TV or read in the paper will say things like, “We respect our workers, but we think it is inappropriate for them to demand to keep their benefits. We have a worker appreciation day, isn’t that enough?”  But I know the truth. At the end of the day, this is a fight for the working people. This is for my friends. This is for Olga in the Student Activities Center. This is for Chris in Covel Dining Hall. This is for Mauricio cleaning the halls of Campbell. This is for all the workers that make UCLA feel a little less like a cold institution and a little more like home.

UC Workers and Students Unite

On Thursday, UC students will rally in support of the UC workers, who are facing contract discrepancies with the UC Office of President. Students will support workers throughout the UC system to gain favorable wages and benefits. The guarantee of job security, safe staffing, and fair treatment are some of the various reasons why there is an ongoing contract fight between UC health care and campus service workers and UC Regents. The UC Regents do not want to agree to the terms of this contract; instead, they want to continue hiring fewer people with low wages, give executives more benefits, and essentially privatize the UC system.

The Statewide Contract Action at UCLA will take place at Covel Commons from 11 am to 2 pm and at the Cogen Facility located at Westwood and Strathmore from 4:15 to 5:40 pm. An estimated 200 students are expected to show support. This rally attests to the importance of campus and health care workers on our campus, due to their effectiveness in maintaining a clean campus and supporting students. We, as students, need to give support and attention to the UC workers who show great effort in making our lives easier by taking care of the school and of the people. With oppressed workers, the UC system will not be efficient in continuing a prestigious reputation nor be able to function for a day, which not only affects our daily lives but our futures.

For a follow up article pick up our winter quarter issue, which will be out on stands in four weeks.

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May Day 2011: Where have all the hand-written signs gone?

Click to view photos from May Day 2011.

Walking down Broadway, looking for Olympic, the street is empty. The old art-deco buildings tower over us as we look for any signs of an ensuing march.

As we headed towards the intersection of Olympic and Broadway, we met with people with bright t-shirts, pens and forms for us to fill out. They were from Good Jobs LA. Marchers had shirts and carried printed signs that advertised the idea, “We Stand for Rights for All.”

On the sidewalk, there is a stack of neon-green signs stamped with “Legalize LA” in stylized font. There are three to choose from: “Legalize LA,” “Immigration Reform Now,” or a quote by JFK.

“Immigration policy should be generous; it should be fair; it should be flexible. With such a policy we can turn to the world, and to our own past, with clean hands a clear conscience.”

Street vendors are a staple of the streets of Los Angeles and May Day is a prime day for sales.  A woman selling sizzling hot dogs with jalepeños and onions; a man with a cart of oranges, making and selling fresh squeezed orange juice; carts, so many carts, selling—and later giving away–American and Mexican flags.

How is la lucha personified? A monstrous statue of liberty, alien (literally!) children, and a masked bride asking America to marry her are dressed for the march.

Walking among strangers in solidarity, yet has anything progressed? Con Obama si se puede some believe, but others are disenchanted.