Janitors and Students Unite to Highlight the Impact of Income Inequality and the Unchecked Power of the 1%
Oakland, CA – On Tuesday, May 1st, janitors joined with student-workers to protest how California’s 1% is holding them both back from a better life. The action was part of several actions May 1st actions across the Bay Area held by students, labor, community organizations and those who believe that by coming together as the 99%, they can reign in the unchecked power of the 1% and put California back on the path to renewed prosperity.
“The 1% is prospering as never before,” said Vianey Nunez, a janitor in Oakland. “There is more than enough money to provide the janitors who clean their offices with affordable family healthcare and to roll back tuition hikes at the University of California.”
“The UC Regents should represent ordinary Californians by supporting a fair contract for janitors and student-worker demands for a state budget with accountability measures for UC and funding for tuition rollbacks and retirement security. But most of the Regents have ties to Wall Street and are instead using their position to support corporate power grabs,” said Charlie Eaton, a graduate student at UC Berkeley.
“The coming together of students and workers today is a testament to our common struggle. Whether it’s to roll back tuition hikes to demanding better wages and benefits for workers, these demands place responsibility on the 1% who continue to benefit at our expense. UC workers formally open up their contract with UC today to fight for a better contract that helps support working families,” said Kathryn Lybarger, President of AFSCME 3299.
Analysts argue that the 1% has used increasing corporate power to reduce its tax contribution education and essential services. A recent study released by Demos argues that in California, state support for higher education per full-time equivalent student has seen dramatic decreases, from $9,553 for the 1990-91 fiscal year to just $5,184 for 2010-11.