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Right Now: Students and Workers Getting Arrested for a Fair Contract

Moments ago, 13 students and workers at the University of California were arrested after they took over a Board of Regents meeting and demanded a fair contract for UC Patient Care workers represented by AFSCME Local 3299.

The students and workers are demanding that the Regents tell the hospital CEO’s to put patients and students first rather than awarding their executives with exorbitant salaries. Diverting money away from patient care and instruction to shamelessly enrich UC executives is unbecoming of a world class institution. UC cannot forget its mission.

The Regents need to propose real pension reform and lower the cap on UC executive pensions, which currently top out at $250,000 or $375,000 per year. To drive that message home, we delivered actual baseball caps to the regents with the words “executive pensions” on them. Imagine our shock when the Regents refused to wear them!

Support the arrested students and workers by sending an email to the Chair of the UC Board of Regents Sherry Lansing and the CEO of UCSF Medical Center Mark Laret telling them to put patients and students first. Use the form on the left to send your message.

On Tuesday, nearly 13,000 workers will go on strike after nearly a year of contract negotiations, while executives like Mark Laret continue to pull down exorbitant salaries. Laret even had the nerve to threaten to sue UC if the Regents didn’t abolish his pension cap, which would have raised his annual pension payout to nearly $800,000.

At the same time, he laid off 300 nurses, pharmacy technicians, and other patient care workers, at a hospital that was already dangerously short-staffed.

It’s clear that UC executives are determined to grant themselves massive rewards, even if that means putting patient safety at risk. That’s why USASers like me from UCLA, UC Riverside, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis are standing arm-in-arm with AFSCME members today at the Regents meeting.

Tell Sherry Lansing and Mark Laret to put patients over profit and agree to safe staffing committees, limits on subcontracting patient care work to inexperienced temps, and reasonable caps on executive pension payouts.