Dear Students:

As the workers who care for you and your campus, what we do is essential to UC’s ability to provide you with a world-class education.  Our work isn’t glamorous, but we do it to support you – our future – and we take real pride in that. Today, we are engaged in a struggle with the UC administration over issues that affect us deeply: retirement with dignity, wages and jobs that sustain us, and most importantly, the ability to advocate for ourselves and the campus communities we serve.

At age 60, after 20-plus years of hard work, we will retire with permanent injuries, unaffordable healthcare, and an average retirement income of $18,000/year.  The UC administration, however, has proposed changes to these benefits that will leave us impoverished, while their trend toward understaffing leaves us exposed to even greater risk of permanent harm before we make it to retirement.

Increasingly, the work to keep your campus clean and safe is being done by people who work for outside contractors, make poverty wages with no benefits, have no rights at work, and a contingent relationship to you and your campus. This creates unsafe working conditions for us, and poor conditions for your learning.

For this, you are paying higher fees, yet the training and research you do while at UC is the foundation for what is a highly profitable university system.  The UC system is the third largest employer in the state, impacts one out of 46 jobs in the state, and reported an increase of $414 million in net assets last year.

We think that UC can and should do better. For this reason, we are fighting for our dignity, safety, and livelihoods, and to restore the excellence that you deserve and should expect from the University of California.


Kathryn Lybarger

President, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Local 3299