UC workers protest outside home of UC Regents chair

ABC 10 News KGTV
ABC 10 News KGTV

SOLANA BEACH, Calif. (KGTV) — Demonstrators chanted and blared horns in Solana Beach Friday morning, as University of California academic workers protested outside of the home of the UC Board of Regents Chair. They say it was a last resort, as they try to get the UC to budge on higher wages they've been demanding during their weekslong strikes.

However, earlier this week postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers reached tentative labor agreements. But tens of thousands of other workers statewide have not. Some of these positions include teaching assistants and graduate student researchers.

"It's a matter of dignity," said Alemayehu Bogale, a Ph. D. student at the University of California San Diego. "We shouldn't be conducting world class research and teaching people from around the world and have to struggle for our everyday sustenance."

Dozens of people attended Friday morning's protest on Coffer Ct.

"The reason we're here today is because we know the UC Regents Chair Richard Lieb lives here," said Bogale. "We're hoping he can come out here and talk to us, and really expedite the process for us."

Deputies moved protesters to the street, away from homes nearby. Demonstrators say they won't return to campus until the University of California reaches an agreement with the union representing the striking workers, bringing their wages up.

"I know several of my colleagues who either are homeless and living in their cars or living in their offices," said Bogale. "Having to take showers in climbing gyms or something like that."

So protesters say the University of California should pay its student employees a minimum of $54,000 a year to keep up with California's cost of living. Right now workers say their base salary is $24,000. According to Zillow, that's less than half of what you need to afford a typical one-bedroom apartment in San Diego.

While contract negotiations continue, some demonstrators say they're hopeful.

"This is one of our last resorts," said Bogale. "This attempt at provoking the community, provoking the UC administration ... that's our way of shouting."

ABC10 News reached out to UCSD for comment, but we haven't heard back yet. The university has said in the past simply that negotiations are ongoing and they hope to find an agreement as soon as possible.

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