Student workers at UCLA protest over ongoing labor talks

WESTWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- University of California, Los Angeles students who are also employed by the school as teaching assistants and other jobs held a protest on Thursday, saying the administration is ignoring their needs.

One of the protesters is Jinann Bettar, who said, "We want to be represented by our union, we want the wages we deserve, we want the healthcare we deserve, we want to stop messing with administrative policies that cut our work time short."

This comes after a different union that represents more than 25,000 UC employees announced that 97 percent of its members have voted to authorize a strike.

That union is also calling on Senator Kamala Harris and Congressman John Lewis to boycott speaking at upcoming graduation events.

Two weeks ago, there were protests in the streets which claimed there is income inequality among UC employees. That ended with 18 arrests.

Protesters said that while they get the lowest salary tier, executives at the school are getting raises.

"All the lawyers that the school has hired to protect them from discrimination lawsuits, I guess they can afford that but they can't afford any money for their students of color," said Makaela Newsom.

On Thursday, the protesters entered a lunchtime meeting of school officials.

"So we went in to talk to the bargaining team. They essentially told us nothing. They can guarantee nothing, and they can provide no information on our particular grievance," Bettar said.

Protester Sabrina Miller said, "Every avenue that we've tried, we've been told 'no,' and they just do that again and they refused to meet with us."

As for the union that authorized a strike, unless there is an agreement they could walk out on June 7, that would be the first day of finals week.
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