The same one-day strike took place at other campuses across the state. While union officials said that the strike is the result of harassment by university officials over a past strike, there were many complaints Wednesday over severely low pay of the workers who keep the campus running, including janitors, mailroom employees and health workers.
"I take home $2,000 a month," said one striker. "That barely pays the rent in Santa Cruz."
Others noted that pay has skyrocketed for the top officials. New President Janet Napolitano is paid $570,000 a year, plus $9,950 a month for her rent, plus $8,916 for a car and $142,500 for moving expenses.
Most classes were canceled and police stopped traffic blocks away from the University entrance. During a past strike, protestors attacked a car trying to get through the entrance.
"Strikes like this can have a real impact on how we provide services to students who want to go to class," UCSC spokesman Jim Burns told Bay City News. "We're clearly putting safety ahead of access."
The strike started at about 5:30 a.m. and continued through the day.
More than 21,000 patient technical care employees and service workers at UC campuses and medical centers throughout the state took part in the one-day strike. The workers are members of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, which is alleging unfair labor practices by the university related to a previous strike in May.
State Assemblyman Mark Stone offered support (see video), and in keeping with the traditions of protest in Santa Cruz, strikers started a lunchtime session of speeches by kneeling to honor the Ohlone indians, whose land this once was. They also had a moment of silence honoring transgendered people who were killed.