Things That Matter

Here’s Why More Than 50,000 University Of California Employees Are Striking This Week

More than 50,000 University of California (UC) workers began a three-day strike Monday against growing income disparity at their respective school, union leaders said. Workers are asking for equal pay across all labor sectors, citing an internal union research document that shows women and minorities in the university system earning less than white men. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3299 is leading the strike with 25,000. They will be joined by two other unions, the California Nurses Association, 14,000 employees, and the University Professional & Technical Employees, 15,000 employees, which have approved sympathy strikes on Tuesday and Wednesday in solidarity with the UC strike.

The strike will impact University of California’s 10 campuses and five medical centers, however, they will remain open.

The employees are striking after the union and the university failed to make an agreement on wage increases, healthcare premiums and retirement terms.

“The big picture here is that there’s growing inequality at the University of California, and we’re going out because they have not even attempted to address it,” Kathryn Lybarger, AFSCME Local 3299 President told NBC News.

According to an internal union study, Latino and Black AFSCME patient care workers are paid more than $4 less per hour than white males.

AFSCME is calling for a new multiyear contract with an annual wage increase of 6 percent, no increase in healthcare premiums and a continued retirement age of 60 to qualify for full pension benefits.

While UC denies pay discrimination, last month the school chose to give workers a 2 percent raise without the consent of the union.

“A strike is only hurting the union’s own members who will lose pay for joining this ill-advised three-day walkout, while negatively affecting services to patients and students,” the spokesperson told NBC News. “A disruptive demonstration will change neither UC’s economic situation nor the university’s position on AFSCME’s unreasonable demands.”

Some UC students are showing solidarity for the strike by not participating in any school sponsored events.

Custodians, gardeners, cooks, truck drivers, lab technicians and nurse aides are among the 50,000 that are striking this week. They hope that with student support, the UC system will see that importance of the strike and the need to improve wages and benefits.

This is a developing story follow mitú for updates.


READ: Thousands Of People Marched For A $15 Minimum Wage Today

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The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Demanded Equal Pay, Instead A Court Just Rejected Their Case

Things That Matter

The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Demanded Equal Pay, Instead A Court Just Rejected Their Case

Robert Cianflone / Getty

Women have been fighting for decades to achieve equality in the workplace: from being free from harassment or from being overlooked for promotions and new positions simply based on gender. But few fights have been as hard-fought and as important as the right to equal pay.

And few battles for this right have gone as mainstream and widespread as the fight being led by the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team – who have been fighting for the same pay as the U.S. men’s team. However, their battle just hit a major roadblock, but the team says they’re still moving forward.

A district judge in California has dismissed the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s claim of unequal pay. 

The reigning World Cup champion U.S. women’s soccer team is vowing to fight on after a judge dismissed their claim of unequal pay with their male counterparts. The judge said that their claims are not enough to warrant a trial.

The court caught many off guard with its May 1 ruling, which rejected before trial the team’s class claims under the Equal Pay Act and its pay bias claims under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The women say they’re paid less than the U.S. men’s team players because of their sex.

A spokesperson for the players, Molly Levinson, released a statement and said, in part, we are shocked and disappointed with today’s decision, but we will not give up on our hard work for equal pay. A couple of the prominent players, including Megan Rapinoe – tweeted, we will never stop fighting for equality. Tobin Heath said, this team never gives up, and we’re not going to start now.

According to the judge who handed down the decision, the women’s team actually makes more than the men’s national team.

Judge R. Gary Klausner said undisputed evidence shows the women were actually paid more per game than the men during the period at issue in the suit. And the women’s argument they would have made more if paid performance bonuses equal to the men’s was undercut by the women having negotiated a separate pay scheme with salaries and other fixed compensation instead of accepting the exclusively “pay-for-play” agreement the men play under, Klausner said.

The pay discrepancy is because of pay agreements that differ greatly between the two teams.

Credit: Robert Cianflone / Getty

The women’s and men’s teams ended up with substantially different agreements. The female players agreement allows the women to be compensated largely through salary guarantees, with additional opportunities for performance-based bonuses. On the men’s team, players do not earn salaries, but only bonuses, and therefore the men are only paid when they play.

The judge writes, “merely comparing what each team would have made under the other team’s CBA (collective bargaining agreement) is untenable in this case because it ignores the reality that MNT (men’s national team) and WNT (women’s national team) bargained for different agreements which reflect different preferences, and that the WNT explicitly rejected the terms that they now seek to retroactively impose on themselves…In May 2016, USSF offered the WNT a pay-to-play proposal similar to the MNT, but the WNT rejected it preferring an agreement that involved some element of guaranteed compensation.”

Though to be clear – that’s not how the women’s national team sees things and is why they’re pushing forward with their fight.

However, that’s not the way the women see it. On CBS This Morning, team co-captain Megan Rapinoe contradicted the judge’s assertion that the women turned down the men’s deal, “We asked to be under the men’s contract, and it was repeatedly refused to us, not only in the structure but in the total compensation. If we were under that contract, we would have earned at least three times higher.”

The women’s team still has substantial public support for their equal pay case. Joe Biden tweeted that if he becomes president he will not provide World Cup funding unless U.S. Soccer provides equal pay.

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The Woman From The Viral Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Worker Meme Shut Down The Laughs With Her Reply About Unfair Wages

Culture

The Woman From The Viral Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Worker Meme Shut Down The Laughs With Her Reply About Unfair Wages

Last week, Twitter exploded with the Chicken Sandwich Wars between Popeye’s newest menu addition and Chic-fil-A’s classic options. Black Twitter shared stories of long lines to get the sandwiches and flooded the social media site with news of sandwich shortages. The restaurants’ social media handles even joined in, throwing causal shade at each other. From there, it didn’t take long for the memes to start. Memes about the Chicken Sandwich Wars beef and the public’s reaction to sandwich shortages were quickly shared on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. 

The hype is real and it’s been huge for Popeye’s, but one meme to emerge from social media has proved to be straight-up offensive.

In a now-deleted tweet, a Twitter user shared an image of an exhausted Popeye’s employee during her break and asked the Internet to turn it into a meme. 

Instagram / @6ixn8ne

While there has been plenty of comedic content around the Chicken Sandwich Wars, this image points out the very human aspect of this capitalistic push. While Popeye’s makes bank off of the mania surrounding their new sandwiches, their employees are facing an increase in labor without increased financial compensation. 

The hourly pay rate at Popeye’s ranges, on average, from $7.29 to $12.33 an hour depending on state minimum wage. With all the free online hype that Black Twitter has given this sandwich, Popeye’s has received about $23 Million in free press. Obviously, the chicken chain has benefitted financially from this exchange but has made no move to compensate the workers who are making it possible. The unfair division of work and profit is very obvious and is nothing to joke about. 

Twitter wasn’t feeling this call to meme-ify the exhausted employee pic.   

Twitter / @DanaVivianWhite

Twitter user @DanaVivianWhite summed up exactly why this attempt to meme this situation is in such poor taste. As her tweet suggests, this worker likely spends a whole 8-hour shift on her feet without the benefits of vacation time or even a livable wage. The instinct to dehumanize her pain and turn it into a mock-able Internet moment is a grossly inappropriate one and it shows the lack of sensitivity that people have towards service workers and the suffering of Black women in particular.  

Other users pointed out the irony of this image circulating on the Internet during Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. 

Twitter / @portia_bartley

The exhausted female worker meme came into being around the same time as Black Women’s Equal Pay Day — a day when we reflect on the wide wage gap that Black women face. Other than Latinas, Black women are the most unequally paid group. It takes an additional 8 months for the pay that Black women receive to equal what their male counterparts make in a year. For this meme to be introduced to the Internet on the same day as Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is not only shameful, it’s completely insensitive to the struggles of these women. 

Instead of making this woman into a meme, energy should be put into helping her and treating her like a human being.

Twitter / @DanaVivianWhite

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the people we see on the Internet are real and are experiencing real pain. They are entitled to compassion and respect especially this woman. Instead of making her exhaustion and labor into a joke, we should use it as a motivator to fight for greater wages and benefits for overworked employees. This picture is not meme material but it should be shared as a reminder that these employees deserve much more than they are getting.

This woman isn’t the only one to feel the exhaustion of the demands being put on Popeye’s workers.  

Twitter / @whyslexmad

Service workers are some of the most disrespected employees and Popeye’s employees are getting an extra serving of abuse from frustrated customers. Abusing overworked, underpaid food workers is disgraceful. It is not their job to take the disrespect of their customers. No one is paid enough to deal with this. 

These employees don’t have options. Often, they aren’t able to look for another job if they are unhappy with their current one. Workers like the exhausted woman are stuck in their situation but it is one that they don’t deserve. We don’t have to make it worse by denying their pain and turning their suffering into entertainment. 

The new Popeye’s sandwich might be delicious but it’s not worth the human struggles. If the chicken chain doesn’t soon find a way to compensate their workers for their labor, they will see a backlash from employees and concerned customers and they will lose the Chicken Sandwich Wars. 

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