Study finds Black, Latinx UC workers more likely to be fired, earn smaller raises

Maya Valluru/Staff

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Black and Latinx UC workers are more likely to be fired and get smaller raises when they are promoted, according to a study released Thursday by American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, Local 3299 in a press release.

The study is a supplemental study to a similar report released in April called “Pioneering Inequality.”

By the end of a three-day strike, AFSCME released the study citing that by far, white men are the most likely to leave their jobs voluntarily, which the study suggests creates higher labor market mobility. For Black workers, however, low rates of voluntary separation from their jobs suggests lower labor market mobility.

When promoted or transferred within the service or patient care workforce, the study said distinct racial and gender patterns impact pay. White and male employees earn more on average than all other racial and gender groups, and their average pay increase after a promotion or transfer is higher. This equates to $2,014 more per year for white male UC workers.

Citing UC job outsourcing as the primary motivation for the strike, AFSCME Local 3299 also sought wage increases for employees of 6 percent annually, plus 2 percent step increases for workers who move up in grade.

The three-day strike led to the cancellation of many classes on campus. Some graduate students canceled sections in solidarity with strikers or crossed the picket line themselves.

“UC takes issues of fairness and equity very seriously,” said UC spokesperson Claire Doan in an email. “While UC is not immune to the societal issues referenced by the union-developed study, we have mechanisms in place to respond swiftly to instances of unfairness.”

The 6 percent wage increase workers demanded, Doan said, is not a viable request in the context of a taxpayer-run institution.

In AFSCME’s press release, it also cited the “Pioneering Inequality” study released in April that said UC campuses are located in the top 10 most expensive housing markets in California.

“To prevent further widening of the racial and gender disparities revealed in this report, UC must take care to preserve the quality of these career jobs and to offer compensation levels that maintain parity with the rising cost of living in campus communities,” the “Pioneering Inequality” study said.

The study also identified a decreasing number of Black members represented by AFSCME in the UC. Workers concentrated in lower-paying occupations face barriers to overcoming their relative position within the UC workforce. For Black workers, this is particularly significant since they also lose their jobs at much higher rates than other demographic groups do.

The study’s overall goal was to “assess how well the University is living up to its highest ideals of ‘pioneering a better future.’ ”

Contact Alexa VanHooser at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @dailycalexaC.