Yesterday, dozens of USC students, labor allies, and community members supported our efforts to join SEIU Local 721 by marching through campus and rallying with us at the “Tommy Trojan” statue!
The march and rally made it very clear that USC students and the community are standing with us in our union election.
They passed out flyers in support of our fight and joined us in boosting our key demand to USC President Carol Folt, top university leaders, and our managers: Do not interfere in our March 23 union election and stop all anti-union tactics!
That’s not all. News outlets featured the rally, with some amplifying a sad fact that we know all too well: USC shuttle drivers are among the lowest paid local bus drivers that operate on city streets in the LA region. The Los Angeles Daily News published a story about our union efforts on Tuesday’s front page and wrote:
USC shuttle drivers start at $18 an hour [once they are made permanent], considerably less than unionized drivers at UCLA, who earn a starting wage of $22.74 an hour and top out at $30.58 an hour.
Unionized drivers at Los Angeles International Airport earn even more, with a maximum hourly wage of $39.34.
….other area shuttle drivers also receive periodic bonuses, something…USC drivers don’t get.
There’s no doubt that a union contract makes a huge difference in the lives of union bus drivers.
By joining SEIU 721, we will have the power to negotiate periodic salary increases and bonuses that keep up with inflation, better benefits, and grievance and disciplinary policies that are fair and include union representation.
Our co-worker Sonia Olivarez who was quoted in the LA Daily News article and joined the march and rally, and said it best: “We’re fed up with being underpaid and undervalued despite our critical role in keeping students, staff, faculty, and visitors moving.”
“USC President Carol Folt needs to know that we emphatically support joining SEIU Local 721 to finally have a strong voice on the job to advocate for ourselves and our passengers.”
A USC student named Owen Ramsby told the student-led USC Annenberg Media:
“The school has way too much money not to be treating its workers with respect. They’re the ones that make the school run and they deserve respect, better wages, benefits, all that. So we’re going to do what we can to support them.”
Lili Adkins, a USC student and a member of the campus group Trojan Left, also adds:
“We know that as USC students, we have a lot of privilege and leverage in what the university decides to do in terms of the union.”
“I hope that it can have a wider impact on USC by discouraging their union-busting practices so that all workers at USC can get the wages and rights that they deserve.”
Stay tuned for more updates and save the date: March 23 is the day to vote YES for SEIU Local 721.
Photos from the rally and march