Lower turnout for second one-day strike at California universities and health systems


Lower turnout for second one-day strike at California universities and health systems

Evelyn Rios

11 April 2019

On Wednesday, thousands of workers throughout the University of California (UC) higher education system struck in a one-day action across the state. UC is the largest public institution of higher learning in the world, comprised of 10 campuses, five medical centers, 16 health professional schools, three national laboratories and numerous satellite facilities.

The action was the second one-day strike called by American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3299 in less than a month. Participation in the first strike, called on March 20, was much higher than on Wednesday.

A portion of the UC Los Angeles lunchtime picket

The exact number of those who engaged in the strike has not been reported, but many media outlets reported 200-300 strikers at each of the campuses. This compares to nearly 1,000 picketers at each of the 10 campuses in last month’s walkout.

The decline is an indictment of the self-defeating policy of the union, which is designed to wear down the workers rather than mobilize the support that exists in the working class for their struggle. By calling token one-day actions and isolating the workers from other education workers and the working class as a whole, the union hopes to dissipate the workers’ anger and militancy and force them to accept a sellout agreement.

Two days of lost wages, costing between $150 and $300, is a major sacrifice for workers who make a poverty wage and face high living costs. AFSCME 3299 members are some of the lowest paid workers in the system, occupying positions such as admitting clerks, anesthesia technicians, MRI technologists, cooks, gardeners, security guards and janitorial…

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