Monday Memo: Week of May 14, 2018
The historic strike of 3 UC unions last week – after UPTE and CNA went out in solidarity with AFSCME – was heard loud and clear by UC and the public, with wall-to-wall media coverage. (See UPTE’s message on the strike here, and print this flyer for your coworkers!)
The Sacramento Bee opened its video coverage with UPTE's president, Jamie McDole, who explained why UPTE members struck in solidarity. Patient care was foremost in the minds of strikers, according to UPTE bargainer Greg Wine who spoke to the Los Angeles Times, and CNA-represented nurses who spoke to the Sacramento Bee.
Coverage also came from the Los Angeles Times, Bay Area broadcasters ABC 7 News and CBS 5 News, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Diego Union, San Diego's ABC 7 News, the Merced Sun-Star, Santa Barbara Public Radio KCBX, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Berkeleyside, CBS Sacramento, Riverside's KCVR, the Orange County Register, and the Sacramento Business Journal, among many others. National attention came from the Washington Post, National Public Radio, CBS News, NBC News, ThinkProgress, In These Times, Democracy Now, Slate, and Jacobin. Commencement speakers who refused to cross picket lines, such as Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), made headlines in The Hill, the Nonprofit Quarterly, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Los Angeles Times.
Students and professors also declared their support, and student-run media at most campuses covered it, including the San Francisco's Synapse, Berkeley's Daily Cal, UCLA's Daily Bruin, Santa Cruz's City on a Hill, Riverside's Highlander, San Diego's Triton, Santa Barbara's Daily Nexus, and Davis' Aggie.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court decision in the right wing's latest attack on unions, Janus v. AFSCME, is expected soon. Its goal is to weaken unions by going after their funding bases. But Mark Janus, the plaintiff, is a public employee in Illinois who has benefited directly from AFSCME's representation there, according to this article in Labor Notes by a co-worker.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has introduced the Workplace Democracy Act to make it easier for workers to join unions and for unions to organize. Sanders says it will also boost wages and reduce income inequality.
Management of the Los Alamos National Laboratory is up for bid, and the two top contenders are the University of California and the Bechtel Corporation. The two co-managed the lab in a partnership from 2006, but lost the contract after a series of accidents and worker safety violations. Now they are competing against each other for the job.