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UC Custodians Call for Fair Wages as Term Opens

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday August 22, 2006

UC Berkeley custodians welcomed students moving into southside dormitories with an informational picket line on Sunday, calling on the administration to give them fair wages. 

“What we want is pay equity,” said William Schlitz, spokesperson for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, which represents the custodians. 

A UC Berkeley custodian with five years seniority earns $12 an hour, he said; a five-year custodian at the Peralta Colleges earns $18.30 an hour. 

Schlitz pointed to a recent study by the California Budget Project that shows that in Alameda County single people need an hourly wage of at least $13.41 to support themselves. 

“And most of the folks have families,” he said, pointing to the “pay excesses” of UC executives that have been well publicized this year. 

“And they can’t find the money?” he asked rhetorically. 

Schlitz, who spoke to the Planet on Monday, said the Sunday picket went well. “We educated a lot of students and their parents,” he said. 

The custodians’ contract comes up next year, but Schlitz said the university could negotiate earlier if they wanted to. 

“We’ve been talking with UC about pay equity issues for 14 or 15 months,” he said. 

Marie Felde, spokesperson on UC Berkeley administrative matters, was not available for comment before deadline.