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Protestors Block Traffic After $15 Minimum Wage NOT Enforced

Protestors Block Traffic After $15 Minimum Wage NOT Enforced

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 (AFSCME) published a report on April 2 claiming there was growing income, racial, and gender disparities in the UC system. The AFSCME criticized the income inequality among UC employees, the University’s under-representation of women and people of color within UC’s top administrative ranks, and declining rates of African-American employment. Two days later AFSCME protesters took to the streets.

On April 4, a group of protesters gathered at the intersection of Le Conte Avenue and Westwood Boulevard, all wearing green shirts that had “AFSMC 3299” written on the back. The protesters carried picket signs reading “Equality For All!” and “End Inequality At UC!” while simultaneously chanting “No justice no peace,” and “If we don’t get it, shut it down.”

When the protestors reached Wilshire Boulevard some of the protesters remained on the sidewalk while a group of 18 went to the middle of the street, staying in a circle together and refusing to get up. Surrounding police officers closed the streets to ensure that the protestors would be safe from ongoing traffic. Two helicopters also hovered over the protestors.

Despite the police officers approaching the protesters in the middle of the road, they refused to get up. After a while, police officers lined up to take the protesters into custody. The police officers approached the protestors two at a time, handcuffed them, and escorted them to the L.A.P.D. bus that was down the road. The protesters did not resist against the officers, rather each time a person was detained, all the AFSCME protesters erupted in cheers and applause.

Many of the protesters were smiling as they were arrested and having a complaisant conversation with the police officers as they were walking towards the bus. It seemed as if they were hoping the protesters would get arrested.

According to Alexia Hatun, a second year history student and member of the Student Labor Advocacy project, the rally was planned to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, honoring him and symbolizing what she thinks is the continuation of racism within the UC system. The report that came out only two days before the protest stated that the ratio between average salaries for UC’s top 1 percent of wage earners and all other employees grew from 7:1 in 2005 to 9:1 in 2015. However, it is important to note that the range of employees includes doctors, CEOs, deans, but also housekeeping, gardeners, and other low skilled jobs.

One alarming statistic that was presented in the survey was the average starting wages for women and people of color can be as much as 21 percent less than white people and men. The data was pulled from years of UC payroll and employee demographic data. Among patient care workers, the average starting wages for black women are 23 percent (almost $16,000 a year) lower than white men. This wage gap cannot be chalked up to the amount of time that the person has been employed, it’s their wage they are given when they have barely started.

When studying service workers income, black women earn 10 percent (almost $4,000 a year) less to start when compared to the average starting wage of white men. UC President Janet Napolitano responded to these complaints in 2015 by enacting a system-wide minimum wage of $15 an hour in 2015. However UC’s internal audits have recently shown that the $15 an hour policy is not being enforced despite the promise that was made.

Footnotes:

"New Study Reveals Growing Income, Racial and Gender Disparities at UC." AFSCME 3299. April 02, 2018.https://afscme3299.org/2018/04/02/new-study-reveals-growing-income-racial-and-gender-disparities-at-uc/

 

GASPARYAN, Ani. "AFSCME Protests, Claims UC Perpetuates Racial, Gender Hiring Bias." Daily Bruin. April 4, 2018.

 

"New Study Reveals Growing Income, Racial and Gender Disparities at UC." AFSCME 3299. April 02, 2018.https://afscme3299.org/2018/04/02/new-study-reveals-growing-income-racial-and-gender-disparities-at-uc/

 

Ibid.

UC Office. "UC President Announces $15/hour Minimum Wage." University of California. July 22, 2015. https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/press-room/uc-president-announces-15hour-minimum-wage.

UCLA Forced to Uphold Free Speech

UCLA Forced to Uphold Free Speech