Daily Bruin - AFSCME Local 3299, community members call on UC to divest from Blackstone

LOS ANGELES, California - In celebration of Valentine’s Day, 75 UC employees and community members demanded the University to “break up” with and divest from Blackstone outside the chancellor’s office in Murphy Hall.

The workers – who are represented by American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 – alleged that the University’s ties to Blackstone prevent the UC from being an “ethical landlord,” and they urged the UC Regents to invest in affordable housing, divest from Blackstone and bargain a fair new contract for the union.

AFSCME Local 3299, which represents service, patient care technical and skilled craft workers employed by the University, held simultaneous actions Wednesday on eight UC campuses. Workers at UCLA, alongside members of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, began their march to the chancellor’s office at 11:45 a.m. as the UC Board of Regents met at the Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center a short walk away.

Union members marched in unison, chanting slogans such as “Break up with Blackstone,” “No housing, no peace,” and “UCLA, you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side.”

Once they arrived inside Murphy Hall, union and community members delivered handwritten “breakup letters” to Chancellor Gene Block and the regents with the union’s demands. They also posted a sign on the wall that read, “University of CA, invest in the housing we need, not Blackstone’s greed.”

“We’re struggling beyond any point that we can understand,” said senior custodian Enrique Rosas in a speech. “Yet we show up every day. We show up every single day, Monday through Friday, doing our job – and do they care? No.”

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