Fast Food Justice sets sights on gains beyond $15 an hour minimum wage

Fast food workers on January 9 rallied in New York City to announce that the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs had recognized their new membership-based workers rights advocacy group Fast Food Justice.

Twelve hundred fast food workers in New York City have joined Fast Food Justice by signing pledge cards.

The pledge cards state that members want their employers to withhold regular donations to Fast Food Justice from their paychecks.

Now that the Department of Consumer Affairs has recognized Fast Food Justice, New York City employers must comply with their workers’ requests.

The regular donations will put Fast Food Justice on a firm financial footing that will enhance its fight for dignity on the job and a better community.

Fast Food Justice says that it will fight wage theft and monitor and take action to ensure enforcement of state of New York’s minimum wage law, the city’s new paid sick leave law, and the city’s new Fair Work Week law, which gives fast food and retail workers predictability about when they work and the number of hours they work.

The group also says that it will fight for affordable housing and transportation, for immigrant rights, for racial justice, and for fair policing and criminal justice reform.

“We want to bring change not only in the fast-food industry, but (also) in our communities,” said Fast Food Justice member Shantel Walker to the New York Times.

Fast Food Justice had its genesis in the 2012 fast food workers strike for a $15 an hour minimum wage and the ensuing Fight for $15 movement.

Those workers eventually succeeded in getting the state of New York to pass a new minimum wage law.

The new law increased the minimum wage in three phases. The first phase raised the minimum wage for most workers in New York City to $11 an hour, the second phase to $13.50 an hour effective December 31, 2017, and the third phase to $15 an hour effective December 31, 2018.

The workers movement’s momentum for a $15 an hour minimum wage helped bring about other benefits for fast food and other retail workers.

In May, the New York’s City Council passed and  Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law the Fair Work Week law, which requires fast food chains and retail employers to give employees more predictable schedules, adequate time off between shifts, and it restricts on-call scheduling.

The law also requires businesses to recognize a worker’s choice to join and fund non-profit groups such as Fast Food Justice by withholding at a worker’s request a regular donation to the group from a worker’s paycheck..

In order to have donations withheld, a group must obtain at least 500 signed pledge cards stating that its members want their donations withheld on a regular basis, and the group must be recognized by the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs.

The 1200 workers who signed the Fast Food Justice pledge cards told their employers to withhold $3.37 from their paychecks if they are paid weekly or $6.74 if they are paid bi-weekly.

Those amounts go up in 2019 to $3.75 and $7.50 respectively.

Since Fast Food Justice is a labor advocacy group not a labor union, it won’t be negotiating collective bargaining agreements with employers, but it will be standing up for its members and other workers in other ways.

It will fight to make sure that current laws that protect workers are enforced and to make sure that worker protection laws stay in place and are expanded when necessary.

Financially stable labor advocacy groups that fight for low-wage workers may be more important now than ever.

The labor policies of the Trump administration suggest that gains that low-wage and other workers have won will be coming under attack.

The National Labor Relations Board’s new Republican majority in December overturned the board’s joint employer liability rule that allowed corporations like McDonald’s to be held partially responsible when the corporation’s franchise owners violated labor laws.

At the Labor Department, President Trump nominated Cheryl Stanton to lead the department’s Wage and Hour Division.

The Wage and Hour Division among other things enforces the Minimum Wage law and other federal laws that protect worker rights.

Bloomberg reports that Stanton at one time was an attorney for Ogletree Deakins, a South Carolina law firm.

During her work there, Stanton defended employers accused of not paying the minimum wage and of misclassifying workers as independent contractors.

Stanton is awaiting Senate confirmation. Currently, the Wage and Hour Division’s acting administrator is Bryan Jarrett, who was appointed by President Trump to lead the division until Stanton is confirmed.

According to a report given at a recent American Bar Association labor and employment law conference, “the hiring of Jarrett follows a pattern of Trump administration employees (at the Labor Department) having a background of representing employers in workplace lawsuits.”

To take on these looming challenges, Fast Food Justice recognizes that it must grow. With that in mind, it has set a goal of increasing membership to 5000 by the end of 2018 and to 20,000 by 2020.

 

 

 

St. Louis workers face 20 percent pay cut

August 28 was a grim day for many St Louis low-wage workers.

That’s the day their pay was cut by more than 20 percent.

Things had begun to look up for these workers in May when a new city ordinance that raised the minimum wage to $10 an hour went into effect.

In another year, their pay would have increased to $11 an hour.

But during summer, the Republican controlled Missouri state legislature and Republican Governor Eric Greitens decided that big restaurant chains and other low-wage employers couldn’t afford the raise.

As a result, the legislature enacted a law banning local governments from increasing the minimum wage above the state’s minimum wage–$7.70 an hour.

Gov. Greitens could have vetoed the legislation; instead, he allowed it to go into effect.

When the new state law went into effect on August 28, many of the 30,000 workers who were earning the $10 an hour minimum wage saw their pay drop by $2.30 an hour.

For a workers working 40 hours a week, that amounts to a monthly pay cut of more than $350.

Large fast food chains such as McDonald’s and Taco Bell are being circumspect about their plans to cut workers wages, but workers like Betty Douglas, a cook and cashier at a local McDonald’s, are bracing for bad news next payday.

Douglas wrote in Civil Eats that after the state law was enacted, her employer told her and her co-workers that McDonald’s “‘reserves the right’ to take away our raises because of the minimum wage cut.”

Not all employers are taking the low road.

Ben Poremba, a St. Louis chef who owns four restaurants, told the Los Angeles Times that he will continue to pay a minimum of $10 an hour.

“The cost of living is rising, but not the pay, so it’s morally important not to lower the minimum wage,” said Poremba to the Times. “I want to debunk the notion that it’s not good for business, and if smaller businesses can afford it, then big retailers and fast-food companies can as well.”

Poremba was joined by 135 other small businesses that signed a  pledge not to lower their minimum wage below $10 an hour.

But the vast majority of St Louis’ low-wage employers have chosen not to sign the pledge.

On the day that their pay was cut, a number of low-wage workers announced that they weren’t giving up the fight for a fair minimum wage.

At a rally, they called for people to sign a petition to raise the state minimum wage to $12 an hour.

The petition campaign is led by Raise Up Missouri. If enough people sign the petition, then Missouri voters will have a chance in November 2018 to vote on whether to raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour.

At the rally, low wage workers were joined by St Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, who said that she was supporting the $12 an hour minimum wage petition campaign.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James said in a statement that he was supporting the $12 an hour minimum wage campaign.

On Labor Day, a week after the St Louis wage cut went into effect, rallies and demonstrations to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour are being held in 400 cities across the US.

Organizers of the rallies and demonstrations are hoping to turn the activism generated by the fight for a $15 minimum wage into a political movement that can vote out state leaders like those in Missouri who oppose raising the minimum wage and replace them with those who support raising it.

Organizers of the effort, including SEIU and other unions, are conducting voter engagement campaigns in Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Illinois–states where decent pay was once the rule but now is the exception.

The voter engagement campaign seeks to identify, register to vote, and motivate workers to vote for candidates who support raising the minimum wage.

Betty Douglas said that despite the set back in St Louis, she isn’t giving up the fight for fair pay for all workers.

“What corporations and politicians are doing to me and other working people in St. Louis is obscene,” writes Douglas. “But we refuse to take it lying down. Instead, we are taking to the streets—and we will be louder than ever.”

Douglas said that on Labor Day, she and tens of thousands of people will be in the streets demanding $15 an hour minimum wage and union rights.

“We’ll be fighting for the 30,000 working people in St. Louis who could see their pay cut, and the 64 million people across this country who still aren’t paid enough to survive. We’ll be fighting for an America where politicians listen to working people instead of powerful corporations, and where everyone who works hard can earn fair wages that only go up, and never go down,” writes Douglas.

Kansas City voters overwhelmingly approve minimum wage increase

Voters in Kansas City, Missouri recently voted to increase the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022.

In a referendum on new city-wide minimum wage, 68 percent of the voters supported increasing the minimum wage to $10 an hour immediately and then beginning in 2019 raising the minimum wage each year by $1.25 an hour until it reaches $15 an hour in 2022.

Voters voted overwhelmingly to support the new minimum wage despite a new state law passed in May that prohibits cities and other local governments from enacting local minimum wages that exceed the state minimum wage, currently set at $7.70 an hour.

The state law, which Missouri Gov. Eric Greiten allowed to go into effect, becomes effective on August 28.

In the meantime, Missouri unions announced that they will begin a campaign to raise the state minimum wage to $12 an hour.

After the result of the Kansas City minimum wage vote was announced, Rev. Vernon Percy Howard, president of the Greater Kansas City Southern Christian Leadership Conference ( SCLC), praised voters for the landslide victory.

“We are so pleased that Kansas City has demonstrated a progressive political perspective on tone and attitude on this issue,” said Howard to CNN Money. “Our brothers and sisters deserve human dignity.”

Howard also said that the vote reflects a growing concern among a broad section of the population about income inequality.

“Income inequality was and is a major issue in Kansas City and across this country,” said Rev. Howard. “We want to thank all those individuals who voted but are not low-wage workers for being people of good will.”

SCLC was one of the groups that came together to form KC for $15, the coalition that led the effort to pass initiative #3, the minimum wage increase initiative on the ballot.

Some in the media called the vote on initiative #3 a symbolic gesture because the state law nullifying local minimum wage ordinances will go into effect soon.

Howard, however, said that the vote was more than empty symbolism and that he had serious doubts about the constitutionality of the state law. Howard said that he foresees a legal challenge to the law.

Other groups that have been working to raise the minimum wage said that the Kansas City vote was an important victory but that much more work needs to be done in order to raise the minimum wage.

The Kansas City vote to raise the minimum wage give us “cause to celebrate,” reads a posting on the Stand Up KC Facebook page. “But we won’t see a penny of it because the legislature passed a bill taking away the right of voters and cities to raise wages above $7.70. Tonight is a time to be proud of our city and angry at our legislator. We will continue to fight.”

On the day before the Kansas City vote on initiative #3 took place, Stand Up KC joined Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 Missouri, the Missouri AFL-CIO, and Missouri Jobs with Justice in announcing the start of a campaign to raise the state minimum wage to $12 an hour.

After making their announcement, members of the coalition began gathering signatures on a petition to put the new minimum wage proposal on the state ballot for the 2018 elections.

To do so, they will need to collect more than 100,000 valid signatures on their petition.

“This campaign takes the power out of Jefferson City (Missouri’s capital city) and gives it back to the people where it belongs,’ said Richard Franklin, a janitor and SEIU member. It’s up to us, the people, to take matters into our own hands.”

In a related development, Mike  Louis, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO announced on August 11 that unions had gathered more than 300,000 signatures on a petition to put an initiative that would veto the state’s new right to work law before the voters.

The petition will be delivered on August 14 to the Missouri Secretary of State for validation.

If there are 100,126 or more valid signatures on the petition, the initiative will be added to the November 2018 ballot, and implementation of the right to work law will be delayed until after the vote.

AZ Supreme Court backs voters on raising minimum wage

The Arizona Supreme Court on March 14 upheld the state’s new minimum wage and paid sick leave law by  unanimously rejecting a lawsuit filed by the law’s opponents.

The new law, which took effect in January, raises the state’s minimum wage from $8.05 an hour to $10 an hour. More raises will follow until the minimum wage reaches $12 an hour in 2020. After that, future raises will be tied to increases in the cost of living.

The new law also requires businesses to give employees at least three paid sick days a year.

Because of the new law, more than 800,000 of Arizona’s 2.5 million workers will get pay raises by 2020.

Arizona voters in November voted in a statewide referendum on the Fair Wages and Health Families Initiative, or Proposition 2016, which called for raising the state’s minimum wage and providing paid sick leave to all workers.

58 percent of them voted “yes” for Proposition 206.

Despite Proposition 206’s widespread support among voters, right wing groups led by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry filed suit to block implementation of the law.

After hearing that the court had rejected the chamber’s suit, supporters of the Proposition 206 held a media conference where they welcomed the good news.

“We’re so very happy that the Arizona Supreme Court decided for the will of the voters and not for special interests,” said Tomas Robles, executive director of  Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), which organized the campaign that got Proposition 206 on the ballot and the eventual referendum victory.

The successful campaign began more than a year ago, said Alejandra Gomez, co-director of LUCHA.

“We started this battle over a year ago, and were able to show that when the community comes together we can have a victory,” said Gomez. “We came together. We collected signatures on petitions. We talked to thousands of voters to let them know that this referendum would mean a pay increase in their salaries.”

The first step toward getting the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Initiative on the ballot was to gather 150,642 signatures of registered voters on a ballot petition.

Supporters of the initiative gathered 271,000 signatures.

The petitions were submitted in July to the secretary of state, who reviewed the petitions, determined that there were enough valid  signatures, and added the initiative to the November ballot.

LUCHA organized its members and supporters to knock on doors and talk directly to voters about raising the minimum wage and providing paid sick days to all workers.

The effort to win voter support also included direct mailings, television ads, and a digital media campaign.

The Chamber of Commerce tried twice to keep the initiative off the ballot.

In August a trial judge rejected the chamber’s suit to deny voters the opportunity to vote on the initiative. Two weeks later, the state Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s decision by rejecting the chamber’s appeal.

When voters went to the polls in November, they overwhelmingly supported Proposition 206.

It garnered 1,195,027 votes, more than Sen. John McCain (1,089,324 votes), who won the state’s US Senate race, and Donald Trump ( 1,021,154 votes) who won the state’s presidential electoral college vote.

The new minimum wage increase means that workers like Rosa Maria Padilla received big pay raises in January, some by as much as $1.95 an hour.

Padilla is a care giver to the elderly and to children with special needs.

“In December the company that I work for told us that we would be getting a pay raise thanks to Proposition 206,” said Padilla in Spanish through a translator.

Padilla, a member of LUCHA, added that the fight for a fair and livable wage isn’t over.

LUCHA and other worker groups will continue to fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage.

“This won’t be the last we hear about raising the minimum wage,” said Padilla. “We’re going to keep fighting.”

“We won’t back down”; the fight for $15 gets bolder

A wave of militant action rolled across the US on November 29 disrupting business as usual as low-wage workers told the nation that they weren’t backing down from their fight to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Strikes, acts of civil disobedience, and other protests involving thousands of people took place in 340 cities.

Despite the US government’s turn to the extreme right in the November election, supporters of the November 29 day of action said that they would escalate their fight to raise wages and stop looming attacks on the working class.

“We are also protesting to reject the politics of divisiveness that tears America apart by race, religion, ethnicity and gender,” said Betty Douglas, a McDonald’s worker from St. Louis. “And we won’t back down until the economy is fixed for all workers and we win justice for all people in our nation.”

In Chicago, 500 workers at O’Hare Airport walked off the job in an unfair labor strike.

The strikers carried signs reading, “Fight for $15 and a union.”

The strikers included janitors, baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, and other low-wage service providers.

The workers said that they were striking to protest intimidation by their employers who are trying to stop the workers from organizing a union.

After the walkout, workers gathered at an O’Hare terminal to rally for a $15 an hour minimum wage and the right to join a union.

Low-wage workers at 20 other US airports joined in protests to demand a $15 an hour minimum wage.

In New York, demonstrators sat down in front of a McDonald’s on Broadway shutting down traffic during the morning rush hour.

“We are here today because we face retaliation in our stores for the gains we’ve made in our pay and our continued effort to fight for better jobs,” said Jorel Ware, a McDonald’s worker to the New York Daily News. “I’m ready to face arrest and put my own safety and freedom on the line.”

“We are here to send a message loud and clear to our employers that we won’t back down,” said Jahnay Tucker, a Chipotle worker. “We are going to keep fighting for the good jobs we deserve.”

According to the Daily News, more than two dozen protesters were arrested for their part in the sit-in.

The protesters were joined by Uber and Lyft drivers, who have been fighting for union recognition.

In Memphis, about 100 people sat in at a McDonald’s near downtown and then began to march toward Interstate 240.

Thinking that the protesters were going to block traffic on the freeway, Memphis police blocked their march.

A stand off ensued that lasted several hours. “It’s a free street,” shouted the protesters to the police blocking their way.

In Minneapolis, 250 people gathered in the street in front of a McDonald’s at Nicollet Avenue and 24th Street where they blocked traffic. Twenty-one people were arrested.

Protesters then moved to a Kohl’s store in the Eden Prairie shopping center.

Janitors who work for Kohl’s have been organizing to fight for a Responsible Contractors Policy that would require janitorial service contractors providing services at Kohl’s to pay a decent wage, provide benefits, and allow workers to join a union of their choice.

“We’ve had a lot of support; it’s crazy,” said Stephanie Gasca of Centro Trabajadores Unido en Lucha (Workers Center United in Struggle), which has helped the janitors organize, to the Star Tribune. “We’ve been involved in this movement for almost two years. It’s time to pass $15 an hour now.”

In Las Vegas, Fight for $15 supporters marched through the Las Vegas Strip in the evening to a McDonald’s where six people sat down to block traffic and were arrested.

“We’re here to say, no matter who is in the White House, we’re going to keep fighting for $15,” said Laura Martin of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, which helped organize the action.

These are just a few of the actions that took place all over the US. Hundreds of people were arrested and thousands participated in street actions and strikes.

Those who took part in what organizers called “A Day of Disruption,” pointed to the gains that the Fight for $15 has accomplished in four years.

Since the first fast food workers walked off the job in 2012 to demand a $15 an hour minimum wage, 22 million minimum wage workers have gotten or will get a pay increase because the states or cities where they live enacted minimum wage increases.

In New York and California alone, 10 million workers will be lifted out of poverty because the two states increased their minimum wage to $15 an hour.

In November, voters in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington voted to increase their states minimum wage. In Washington, the minimum wage will increase to $13.50 by 2020, and in the other states, it will increase to $12 an hour by 2020.

Organizers of the November 29 actions said that their fight will continue until all who work are paid a living wage that keeps them out of poverty.

Strikers: “We want a better life;” raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour

Thousands of fast food, home care, and other low-wage workers in 270 cities across the US on November 10 joined the largest unfair labor practices strike yet in the campaign to increase the US minimum wage to $15 an hour.

They were joined by FedEx workers, Las Vegas parking valets, short-haul truck drivers at ports, and many other who support a living wage paycheck for all.

In Oakland, California, strikers and their supporters chanted, “We want a better life,” which succinctly expressed the desires of the strikers and the motivation behind the Fight for $15 movement whose growing momentum has vaulted it into a national political issue.

Speakers at rallies supporting the strike described the Fight for $15 as a civil rights issue, and at several rallies, speakers talked about the connections between the Fight for $15 and the Black Lives Matter and the immigrant rights movements.

In Milwaukee, Fight for $15 strikers and their supporters were joined by Black Lives Matter and Voces de la Frontera Action, an immigrants rights group, in a march to and rally at the Republican  presidential debate. A banner at the front of the march, expressed the solidarity of the marchers. It read,

FIGHT FOR $15

BLACK LIVES MATTER

IMMIGRANT JUSTICE

“What you saw last night was three of the most important social movements in this country coming together into one movement that puts forward a common agenda and a vision of hope, ” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera Action, in a statement issued the day after the march and rally.

Fight for $15 organizers see the successful strike and the attention that it gathered as an important step toward politicizing the fight for a decent minimum wage.

A banner at the top of the Fight for $15 website has this message for federal, state, and local candidates running in an election: “Come get my vote.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for President, got the message.

Sanders spoke at a rally of federal contract workers. These low-wage workers, who clean federal buildings and work in the dining facilities that feed US House members and senators,  joined the nationwide Fight for $15 strike and have been engaged in an ongoing effort to organize a union.

“People in this country who work 40 hours a week deserve a living wage,” said Sanders to the strikers as he held an umbrella to keep the rain off his head. “And workers all over this country deserve the right to organize a union.”

In California, supporters of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour took another step toward making the fight a political movement.

On November 9, the day before the Fight for $15 strike, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) announced that it had gathered 500,000 signatures on a petition for a ballot initiative that will give California voters a chance to decide whether to make $15 an hour the state’s minimum wage.

In order to qualify for a ballot initiative, the petition needed 350,000 signatures of registered voters.

“Public support for this initiative is overwhelming because people know you simply can’t live in California on $19,000 a year, and they want to create a path to a better life for all low-wage workers and their families,” said Martha Alvarez, a certified nursing assistant and member of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West.

Minimum wage workers, weren’t the only ones to join the Fight for $15 strike.

FedEx workers in Gardenia, California on November staged a one-day unfair labor practices strike to push for their own demands for union recognition by FedEx.

US Uncut reports that the strike interrupted delivery service in the South San Francisco Bay Area.

The Gardenia FedEx workers were joined by other FedEx workers and others who are seeking to join the Teamsters union.

The Teamsters expressed the union’s support for all workers fighting for better wages and working conditions.

“The Teamsters joined with thousands of truck drivers, valet attendants and low-wage workers across the country today in a day of action to raise awareness about the sorry state of wages and benefits for millions of everyday Americans on the job,” said the Teamsters in a statement about the day of action.

The union’s statement of support for those fighting for a decent wage said that if workers want fair wages, they need to join a union.

“The Labor Department’s own statistics prove why joining a union is important,” said the Teamsters.” The median union worker earns more than $200 a week . . . than a non-union one. That’s why the Teamsters have stressed the importance of labor union membership in our recent “Let’s Get America Working!” campaign.

Fight for $15 gains momentum at UC; union vows to continue the fight until everyone is covered

The fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour gained momentum in California after the University of California System (UC) on July 21 announced that it will increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The raise, which affects 3,200 UC workers, will be phased in over three years. The UC minimum wage increases to $13 an hour on October 1, then to $14 an hour 12 months later in 2016, and finally to $15 an hour on October 1, 2017.

“This is the right thing to do — for our workers and their families, for our mission and values, and to enhance UC’s leadership role by becoming the first public university in the United States to voluntarily establish a minimum wage of 15 dollars,” said UC President Janet Napolitano.

But thousands of workers providing services on UC campuses and health centers won’t be receiving the raise because they work for outsourcing contractors.

Napolitano said that UC would step up its monitoring and compliance efforts of its contractors in an attempt to get contractors to pay decent wages.

But Kathryn Lybarger, president of AFSCME Local 3299, which represents 22,000 UC workers, said that Napolitano’s proposal doesn’t go far enough.

“We are encouraged to hear that (President Napolitano) recognizes that there is a problem,” said Lybarger. “That said, any proposal that does not guarantee equal pay for UC subcontractors is not good enough.”

 

According to Lybarger, UC like other comparable public institutions is relying more and more on private companies to provide essential services such building maintenance, food service, and custodial service.

As a result, what were once stable jobs that provided decent benefits have been turned into low-wage, dead-end jobs.

Since 2009, said Lybarger, UC has added 9,000 students and 12 new facilities, but the number of full-time UC employees who provide services to these students and maintain these facilities has declined.

To fill this need, UC has turned to private companies that in many cases make their profits by paying poverty wages with few if any benefits.

Many of these jobs are described as temporary positions when in fact they are permanent.

“These workers are not temporary,” said Lybarger. “Many have worked at UC for years, some for as little as half of what their UC employed peers make and for few benefits.”

Most of these workers, who provide vital services but are paid poverty wages, are immigrants or people of color, said Lybarger

Lybarger said that AFSCME has a record of fighting discrimination at UC and would continue to do so. That fight includes extending the minimum wage increase to all UC workers whether they work directly for UC or for a private contractor.

“UC has to turn the page by supporting equal pay for contract workers and by ending this permanent outsourcing of staffing needs to poverty wage employers,” said Lybarger. “Until (it) does, we will not stop fighting.”

Lybarger said that a bill pending in the state legislature would go a long way toward ending the abuse of contract workers on UC campuses.

SB 376 would  raise wages and benefits for UC contract workers to the same level as UC workers in comparable positions.

It passed the Senate and has been reviewed favorably by two committees of the General Assembly.

But its passage is in question because it is opposed by UC and by Gov. Jerry Brown.

In May, AFSCME confronted President Napolitano about her opposition to SB 376.

At a UC Regent’s dinner in a posh downtown San Francisco dining facility, members picketed outside.

Some were able to enter the building where the dinner was being held.

They delivered 7000 letters calling on President Napolitano to support SB 376 and handed her a package of Ramen noodles, “all that contracted out workers can afford to eat on UC’s poverty wages,” said an AFSCME flyer.

UC has complained that paying a living wage to contract workers would be too expensive.

But the question of expense doesn’t seem to concern UC when it comes to executive salaries.

The Sacramento Bee reports that UC paid former UC President Mark Yodof $546,000 in 2014, the year after he resigned from his position.

The Bee also reports that 445 UC executives and others hold high-paying positions were paid $500,000 or more in 2014.