Teamsters Hold UC Regents Responsible for Food Insecurity and Hunger
Dozens of UC workers protested hunger, food insecurity, and low wages at the University of California Regents meeting on Wednesday, November 16.
A recent study by Occidental College shows that 70% of University of California full time clerical, administrative and support workers suffer from food insecurity or hunger.
“It’s hard to admit that even working full-time for a world-renowned University many of us have to skip a meal or rely on snacks to get by,” said Joseph Meyer, an administrative support worker from UC Berkeley. “I have skipped breakfast and I have had to sacrifice purchasing prescription medicine in order to pay for food or vice versa. Without prescription medicines, my asthma worsens. Having to make these kinds of choices creates additional stress, which results in migraines and lack of sleep. It is past time for the UC to pay us enough to live.”
The UC administrative support workers, who are represented by Teamsters Local 2010, face hunger and food insecurity at a rate five times the national average. Their real income has declined by 24% over the past two decades.
“I am a UC graduate who works for the University,” said one UC worker who spoke on the condition of anonymity.” “I’ve often had to skip meals, especially in leaner times. I have learned which foods will fill me up and I use soymilk, butter and mayonnaise for that. A carton of soymilk costs $1.79. I will skip meals at work, often 3-4 lunches out of a week, and I will just drink soymilk instead. I know I can’t spend a lot of money so I don’t.”
The workers held signs and banners visible to the UC Regents demanding that the University pay workers enough to eat and picketed outside the meeting. The regents were provided with copies of the Occidental College study along with written comments from workers themselves.
“The UC Regents’ response today was less than satisfactory,” said Catherine Cobb, Teamsters Local 2010 President. “This is a crisis for the 14,000 administrative support workers who are trying to live on the UC’s poverty wages. The UC Regents should be speaking out on this issue and demanding solutions. We will be taking our concerns to the state legislature.”
“Until the UC pays workers enough to eat, there will continue to be demonstrations at campuses throughout the state,” said Jason Rabinowitz, Secretary Treasurer and Principal Officer of Local 2010.”