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April 18, 2005

AFCSME-called strike draws hundreds to picket lines

By Jim Burns

Hundreds of employees and students picketed at both entrances to UCSC during a one-day UC systemwide strike that occurred this past Thursday (April 14). The strike was called by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Employees on strike, joined by supportive students, staff, and faculty, also organized a noon rally at the base of campus.

Photo: Chancellor Denton

Chancellor Denton meets with striking employees and students supporting them at the entrance to campus.
Photo: Tom Vani

Strikers and their supporters rally at the main entrance to campus.
Photo: Louise Donahue

The AFSCME service unit includes custodians, food service workers, bus drivers, and groundskeepers. The key issue in the strike was wages.

Late in the afternoon, Chancellor Denton met with several dozen of the protesters at the campus's main entrance. She promised to be a voice for their issues in discussions with UC's senior administration and with state legislators who provide the university's funding base. Chancellor Denton's visit seemed to surprise—and please—the striking workers.

The strike disrupted many scheduled classes and resulted in reduced student services, notably in the areas of child care and dining services. But campus offices remained open.

Information throughout the day was made available on a special strike information web site and on (831) 459-INFO. Traffic information was also transmitted via KZSC Radio.

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