Thursday, July 17, 2008

Berkeley Strikes, Cafes, and Music

Over the years, when I've gone over to UC Berkeley to use the library, I've periodically found the grad students on strike. They teach many of the undergraduate courses, they (like grad students everywhere) are not paid all that much, and it's extremely expensive to live in the Bay Area. And of course other issues are often involved as well. University of Pittsburgh's grad students aren't unionized, so we always have to hope that the university administration remains benevolent, and that our departments treat us well.
This week a different group of UC workers is on strike: the AFSCME service workers. It's a 5-day strike, called after 11 months of negotiation. These employees include custodians, cooks and food service workers, groundskeepers, bus drivers, building maintenance people, security guards, and so on. These are not types of jobs that historically get very high wages without union support. Life is expensive in the Bay Area, and while I thought gas was expensive in Pittsburgh when it got over $4 per gallon, it's well over that here, so I don't find it surprising that the AFSCME wants a "UC Statewide minimum wage," improvements on overtime pay, and other things.
Having said that, I'm off to The Musical Offering to have another cup of coffee while figuring out just what I need to look up at the library. I'm trying to avoid looking up too much more and just make revisions. Of course, the danger in hanging out at The Musical Offering is that I will buy CDs, since this is the place to go for anything in the early music (or other subsequent classical) line.

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