(FOX 11) - On the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Jr.’s assassination, hundreds of University of California workers, and students blocked traffic at the intersection of Wilshire and Westwood Boulevards in Westwood to protest what they say is a growing inequality at California's 3rd largest employer, the University of California.
More than a dozen people sitting in a circle in the middle of the intersection were arrested after refusing to disperse to make their point clear. Davina Woods a Senior Custodian at UCLA said, “They need to hire more people like me, train and develop more people like me and treat people like me with respect.”I've been here 7 years and its taken me that long to get to the pay rate of the average white man.
A recent study by the workers union AFSCME Local 3922 highlights what they call a widening gap between UC's highest and lowest earners, persistent patterns of racial and gender hierarchy and steep declines in African American employment within the University's workforce.
The study further states that the average starting wages for women and people of color are as much as 21% less than white men with African American representation in these job titles dropping by 37% since 1996.
John De Los Angeles, the union spokesperson said its not actually that these workers are not applying for these jobs, UC is just not hiring them for these good paying positions. They are eliminating these middle class jobs, they are out sourcing them so we find that people of color are being pushed down to the bottom of the pay scale.
The University of California issued a statement saying in part: "All UC employees deserve to be fairly compensated for their hard work... UC is offering our service employees fair, multi-year wage increases... we have been bargaining with AFSCME for more than one year and another session is scheduled for April 6th. We hope AFSCME will present financially realistic proposals that move us quickly toward and agreement..."