Janette Reid just received a layoff notice from UC Berkeley after dedicating 30 years to the UC
By Rachel Warino
Imagine dedicating 30 years of your life to one employer, then one year away from retirement getting handed a layoff notice. It feels so wrong on such a visceral level but it just happened to Janette Reid. Janette had worked for the University of California Berkeley Molecular & Cell Biology Department and was the first administrative support worker to receive a layoff notice.
Yesterday UC Berkeley students, Teamsters Local 2010 members and fellow union workers from UPTE-CWA and AFSCME 3299 stood together to demand UC shift its priorities back to students and the staff who keep the UC running every day. The action included a march down the Free Speech Bikeway to deliver their message to Janette Reid’s supervisor. Carrying signs and chanting slogans decrying the proposed layoffs, demanding justice, and suggesting instead the layoff of Chancellor Dirks.
Chancellor Nicholas Dirks recently announced his plan to lay off 500 UC workers just like Janette to resolve a projected budget deficit. UC workers and their union, Teamsters Local 2010, are fighting back against his plan. In addition to eliminating jobs, Chancellor Dirks plans to cut essential student services, libraries, housing offices, academic departments, childcare centers, medical clinics, and the BearWalk public safety program.
Administrative support workers, who are primarily women and people of color, are among the lowest-paid in the UC system, and have seen their real income drop by 23% over the past two decades. At UC Berkeley, 98% are paid too little to meet basic household expenses according to a recent study.
Alicia Flores, Teamsters Local 2010, UC Berkeley Chapter Coordinator said yesterday at the action:
“The lowest-paid workers and students should not be made to pay the price for the irresponsible decisions of administrators that created the budget shortfall”
Jason Rabinowitz, Teamsters Local 2010 Principal Officer emphasized:
“UC workers are already working harder for less. Students are paying triple tuition for fewer classes and reduced services. This cynical, disastrous plan will only compound the problems. We call on Chancellor Dirks to stop the cuts and withdraw the unjust layoff of Janette.”
Photo credit: Teamsters Local 2010