Next strike up: UC Medical System
For the first time in months, the strike news isn't about teachers.
It's about the University of California, and it's pretty big.
Thousands of vocational nurses, truck drivers, security guards and other service workers walked off the job at 10 University of California campuses Monday morning, kicking off a planned three-day strike over pay and causing widespread delays in patient care at UC medical centers.
...While university administrators were planning to bring in at least 1,000 replacement employees, sympathy strikes set for Tuesday by the California Nurses Union and the University Professional and Technical Employees were expected to complicate matters. In total, the number of striking employees could reach 53,000.
“Our only option again is to strike,” said Kathryn Lybarger, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, whose 25,000 systemwide workers initiated the action. “We are holding the line on some of the last middle-class jobs in California.”
The AFSCME members represent over 15,000 vocational nurses, respiratory therapists and medical technologists across the UC system as well as more than 9,000 janitors, cooks and security guards.
...Union representatives say they deserve more.
“They’ve been tone deaf to our calls around inequality and stopping the outsourcing,” Lybarger said. “They won’t even say the words inequality and outsourcing.”
53,000 is nothing to sneeze at.
I especially like the sympathy strikes. A little solidarity goes a long ways.
As for the teacher strikes, Republicans are trying to undermine the gains of the teachers now that the strikes are over.
Members of Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite, an anti-tax group, filed paperwork last week to get a veto referendum on the November ballot. The group has until July 18th to collect about 41,000 signatures. The new taxes to fund the salary increases are scheduled to go into effect on July 1, but there’s debate over whether those would need to be put on hold if activists collect enough ballot signatures before that date.
Taking aim at a bill designed to protect children from abuse and neglect, Oklahoma state Rep. Todd Russ (R-Cordell) introduced a last-minute amendment to prevent school districts from automatically deducting union dues from teacher paychecks. Educators instead would need to make other arrangements to handle membership payments. Russ’s amendment would have also mandated that a majority of educators in each school district vote every five years on whether they want to keep their collective bargaining unit; if a majority did not vote in favor, the school district would be stripped of union representation.
Doug Folks, a spokesperson for OEA, told Rewire.News that teachers, police officers, firefighters, and state workers inundated legislators’ phone systems and “in about 18 hours, we were able to get enough promises of no votes that the [amendment] was never heard.” The bill, SB 1150, was approved by lawmakers without the anti-union provisions.
A union-busting revenge bill is sort of what you would expect from Oklahoma conservatives. Unfortunately for Republicans, the teachers are still popular.
The sneakiest way that Republicans are undermining the gains by the teachers is how they will be paid for.
Educators returned to work after the state legislature gave them a 20 percent salary raise over three years and some extra funding for public education.
But there’s a catch: Lawmakers are going to make them and other middle- and working-class Arizonans pay for the raise.
Teachers had wanted legislators to raise business and income taxes on wealthy Arizonans to restore cuts to public education and boost anemic teacher salaries. Republicans gave in to some of the demands for more funding — but they’re not paying for the salary hike with new taxes on the wealthy. Instead, the legislature passed a fee on motorists and shifted most of the cost of desegregating schools from the state to taxpayers in low-income school districts. Those levies will largely hit working- and middle-class taxpayers.
It looks like the next fight will be over tax reform.