In true French/Berkeley fashion, UC workers of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees storm the Bastille … err, protest with large white and red signs on campus today. Across from Caffe Strada, we bumped into a group and diligently took a flyer.

Last Friday, the Superior Court of San Francisco issued a restraining order against AFSCME’s planned strike for this week. Did they not get the TPS report? Berkeley’s PR machine, NewsCenter, made sure to point out that disciplinary action will follow if workers strike this week. Oh noes.

The Daily Cal reported that the workers intend to strike this week just to show the Man how important they really are.  But will they get fired for violating the court order?

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Students support UC Workers in April 2005One thousand two hundred university campus service workers are planning a five-day walkout, and those are just Berkeley’s numbers. The strike-in-planning will take place at University of California campuses statewide.

Golden bears, baby bears, banana slugs and–whatever, all the other guys, too–must unite! Ninety-six percent of our beloved service workers qualify for public aid (e.g. food stamps, child care and housing subsidies).
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Many seniors expressed disdain that the 2008 Commencement Convocation speaker was Craig Newmark, the creator of Craigslist, and not someone like Steve Jobs or Nostradamus telling us what to do with life after college. But, hey, at least we had a speaker.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is at the height of demanding change for many underpaid UC service workers (this includes health care technicians, custodians, dining workers and more), and if they don’t reach a compromise with the university before this weekend, UCLA and UC Davis may not have the high-profile commencement addresses they were expecting: former President Bill Clinton and California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, respectively.

Both individuals refuse to cross picket lines or speak while university workers are without a contract. By the way, Nunez was supposed to speak at Cal two years ago, but didn’t because of AFSCME.

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It’s been a long time coming.

After two commencement speakers bailed on our graduation here at Cal for the last two years (yeah, remember Fabian Nunez last year?), UC has finally reached an agreement with AFSCME (a labor union acronym with a really long name).

Custodians here at UC Berkeley will receive a $1.25 per hour pay hike retroactive from April 1 and will get an extra $0.50 an hour starting Oct. 1.

Supposedly, UC has been wanting to up the pay for its lower-paid workers for a really long time now. At least that’s what UC spokesperson Nicole Savickas said.

bq. We’ve been wanting to give raises to all our lower-paid employees. It’s been a long process and it was just recently that we were able to come to this compromise. It’s unfortunate that this had to disrupt the commencements.

Really? UC has “been wanting to give raises”? What was stopping UC from giving these workers this pay hike?

And Danny Glover did contact the union president. What did he say?

bq. He said, “Congratulations!”

Awesome. You did your part, Danny. So when are we going to get Lethal Weapon 5?

UC settles pay dispute with custodians [Mercury-News]