For immediate release
December 11, 2014
Inspired by Fight for $15, workers take a step forward by voting to authorize a strike
LOS ANGELES – USC Workers will vote this Thursday to authorize a strike as they fight on for higher wages. The vote count will take place at the United University Church on campus. Inspired by fast food workers who have taken a huge risk by walking out on the job in their fight for $15 an hour, USC workers are taking another step forward by voting for a strike.
Workers like Maria Villalobos believe this is a powerful way to call attention to worker’s situations. Maria Villalobos describes her experience as a Guest Service Representative at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center, “In my 41 years at USC, I have been in two strikes and I’ve fasted for 11 days. I will do it again and twice as hard if necessary. All of us together we can win something we don’t have: fair wages.”
USC workers are continuing to call attention to low salaries, after a rally last month brought out around 200 students, clergy and community members to demand higher wages.
USC Food Service and Hospitality workers are asking for raises that will bring every worker to a wage of at least $15 an hour or more during the contract term. Their previous agreement’s extension expired last month. The workers serve the 41,000-student campus as cooks, cashiers, and baristas, among other ways.
USC is Los Angeles’ largest private employer, so workers believe the university could provide better wages. USC has a $3.9 billion dollar endowment. The cost of tuition, room and board at USC is $61, 681 per year.
USC workers are not alone. They are joining a growing movement of low-wage workers across the country that is calling for better wages. The LA City Council recently voted in a new $15.37 per hour minimum wage law in September for hospitality workers in Los Angeles hotels.
Most are simply looking to provide the best care for their families. Alfredo Valles has been a server at USC Town & Gown for over 30 years says that, “USC has never given us what we deserve. I have struck before and it was very difficult. Now we are striking so we may live with dignity and respect.”