Calif. Students Arrested after Protesting Labor Exploitation

The students spoke out against what they see as an increase in outsourced jobs in colleges across the country.

Twenty two student protesters were arrested after occupying the University of California Berkeley chancellor’s office in an attempt to protest labor exploitation by the school.

More than 50 students took part in the sit-in, which protested the University of California System’s practice of outsourcing certain labor jobs on campus.

The protest was organized by the university’s Student Labor Committee, which support’s the UC system’s largest employee union, according to salon.com.

Currently the university system uses contracting companies to fill positions for custodial and parking attendant jobs. Students argued the companies exploit their workers and take jobs away from people in unions.

One of the companies currently under contract with the university system, Performance First, is being investigated by the Department of Labor after an employee alleged she worked 16-hour shifts seven days a week for football games but never received overtime. That would be a violation of the state’s labor laws, although federal authorities have not confirmed the worker’s claims.

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Multiple workers from other labor contracting companies used by the university system also demanded better conditions in August.

The students also accused Chancellor Nicholas Dirks of hypocrisy for condemning racist exploitation in his scholarship but allowing what they called unfair labor practices in the university. An overwhelming majority of the contracted workers are minorities.

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