The Teamsters have been locked in contract negotiations with the University of California (UC) for months seeking a fair contract for the 14,000 critical support staff the union represents. At the heart of the discussion has been the low pay its workers receive, one that makes it nearly impossible to support a family. Now a new report shows just how bad it is for these UC employees.
Seven in 10 clerical, administrative and support services workers at the state’s third largest employer are struggling to feed their families, the new Occidental University document finds. The poll states 45 percent of those surveyed went hungry at times, while another 25 percent had to reduce the quality of their diet.
“The level of food insecurity among these UC employees is one and a half times higher than the level of food insecurity among UC students, and is more than five times higher than that of California residents and among the nation as a whole,” the report says.
Concern about the wages paid to these critical workers has long been a concern of the union. The UC system has for decades been driving down frontline workers’ pay, while giving raises to its senior executives. Over the past two decades, administrative, support and clerical workers have seen the UC system hold down their real wages by nearly 24 percent. The UC system is also attacking workers’ retirement security.
In response, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa and General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall joined with hundreds of Teamsters in Los Angeles last month in a demonstration to show their support for Local 2010, which represents the workers.
The union also approved a resolution at its 29th International Convention in June that called on the UC system to pay workers a living wage and not increase income inequality, especially at a time when the salaries of senior managers have grown at a rate 10 times that of support staff workers.
These UC employees deserve to earn a salary that will allow them to support their families, not mire them in poverty. It’s time for the UC system to step up to the plate and agree to a fair contract!