Changing Hearts and Minds, one cupcake at a time

On Friday, February 22nd strike fund bake sales were held at both UC Santa Cruz and UC Berkeley. On the Santa Cruz campus as bargaining with UCOP was starting in the Humanities building at 11am, the UCSC Librarian Organizing Committee convened in the McHenry Library to take a wonderful assortment of baked goods over to Quarry Plaza. After setting up a table and chairs in front of the Bay Tree Bookstore the committee members began spreading the array of baked goods on trays and settling in for the first shift.

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Right at 11:30am students and non-tenure track faculty began visiting the table, asking for bargaining updates, and of course, purchasing baked goods. Aside from the bake sales staples there were some notable crowd pleasers such as tomato soup cupcakes, oil and vinegar vegan cupcakes, gluten-free peanut butter cookies, salted chocolate almond bark, and three different types of shortbread cookies. Passersby enjoyed the delicious treats, but were not pleased to hear of the UC’s failure to pay its beloved librarians fair wages. Students were shocked to learn about the librarian pay gap between the UC and CSU and that UC librarians are currently paid 37%, 32%, and 25% less than their CSU peers at the Assistant, Associate, and full Librarian ranks.

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Meanwhile over the hill in Berkeley, their Librarian Organizing Committee was holding their second bake sale of the month. At the table in Santa Cruz a student demonstrated how to access the Venmo QR code for our UCAFT account, which allowed students to quickly send in contributions. Berkeley librarian Kendra Levine then leveraged the Venmo information so that students at UC Berkeley could also access this payment method. Some of the Venmo contributions came with comments attached, and we’re proud to report that messages of solidarity were abundant, i.e. “We stand with you!” “Solidarity can be yummy” and “For the good fight!”

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Together these sales raised over $500 and continue to build a fund that will certainly grow with upcoming baked sales at UCSD and UCLA in March. The bake sale also provided a great opportunity for UCSC Librarians to connect with non-tenure-track faculty as they prepare for their own bargaining campaign to launch in April. Roxi Power, a lecturer at UCSC and our UC-AFT VP of Organizing, joined the bake sale at Noon. Roxi was quick to inform all the librarians at the table how appreciated and loved UC librarians are. Following up from the Valentine’s Love Your Librarians Day tabling event in front of McHenry Library that was planned by Jess Waggoner and Ken Lyon. Roxi along with UCSC librarians Marcia Barrett, Rachel Jaffe, and Alix Norton all began to paste Valentine’s Day cards that students had filled out with messages to librarians on to poster boards that read “UC Librarians Are Loved.”

The table team was not able to visit the bake sale table at Quarry Plaza – they literally worked through lunch! But, they were elated to hear of the strong showing from the sale (when we brought up to the team some deliciously supporter-subsidized carrot cupcakes from the sale), and we were encouraged to hear that they had a productive day of bargaining. The team hopes to visit the bake sale table at UC San Diego on March 4th.

At Santa Cruz, it was impressive how openly and articulately librarians were speaking about the reality of our working conditions. We certainly anticipate more of this at San Diego in March, as we enter our sixth month out of contract. The energy in UC-AFT is strong and getting stronger as bargaining continues to heat up!

In solidarity,

Daniel Schoorl

UC-AFT Librarian Bargaining Team

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