New: UC Berkeley hunger strike negotiations break down when administration tries to split students and workers
On Wednesday evening, it appeared a resolution was within reach to end the three-day hunger strike by students, workers and other members of the UC Berkeley community. The strike began Monday with demands of denouncing racist legislation in Arizona, creating a sanctuary campus and ending retaliation against student and worker activists (see next page for complete demands). As five negotiators were entering California Hall; Tanya Smith, the lone UC employee on the team, was denied entry into the building. “The police blocked the door and indicated that no union members would be allowed to enter,” said Smith; who also is the campus President of U.P.T.E., a UC union. “Then Isaac Castro, a fellow negotiator, came to join me outside and the police lost control”.
“When I saw that they blocked Tanya’s entrance, I decided to leave the building”, said Isaac Castro a fifth year student who is participating in the strike. “I guess they thought I was trying to prop the door open because they immediately brought me to the floor. After being detained for a few minutes they realized their mistake and let me leave. But I’m still shocked at how quick they were to restrain me when all I wanted to do was stand in solidarity with a worker on my campus. Why are they so afraid of students and workers joining together for this hunger strike?”
“Our demands are very reasonable and there is no need for these intimidation tactics by Vice Chancellor Breslauer and Chancellor Birgeneau”, says Kathy Vega, a 3rd year student majoring in Political Science. ”They have shown they never intended to discuss our demands. Our hunger strike is a completely non-violent act which will continue until all of our demands are met. From now on we will only negotiate with the Administration with our complete team, including UC workers”.
A rally is planned for Thursday to protest the administration’s tactics and support the ongoing demands of the hunger strike.