Mock funeral at UC Berkeley to support campus workers

“Funeral of Workers’ Rights” Day of Action 2/12 Photo: Kaia Diringer

Funeral of Workers’ Rights Day of Action on Thursday March 7. Photo: Kaia Diringer

Yesterday, a group of UC Berkeley students and staffers held a mock funeral to show their support for workers on campus who are members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), who are currently in contract negotiations with the university.

The rally was part of a Thursday March 7 day of action held across the UC system. Students and campus workers spoke about the demise of workers’ rights and delivered a coffin holding a petition to deliver to the Cal administration.

Berkeleyside photo intern Kaia Diringer was there to document the event.

“Funeral of Workers’ Rights” Day of Action 11/12 Photo: Kaia Diringer

A procession was followed by a rally at the“Funeral of Workers’ Rights Day of Action on Thursday March 7. Photo: Kaia Diringer

“Funeral of Workers’ Rights” Day of Action 6/12 Photo: Kaia Diringer

Protesters delivered a petition in a coffin to the UC Berkeley administration. Photo: Kaia Diringer

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  • Name

    if you are going to do something this corny at least spend a little bit longer making a bigger fake coffin

  • guest

    The Berkeley Chancellor makes $486,000. The football coach makes $1.9 million. Police chief Harrison, got a lump sum retirement of 2.1 million – and then kept earning a salary. The folks at the top are out of touch with reality.

  • Tizzielish

    Have you considered that the tiny casket might have been satire? The notion that “Berkeley values” is something special is, all by itself, a illusory belief that Berkeley has special values anymore. Take a look at UC Berk’s board of trustees: they are moving towards running UC Berk by and for the elite.

    It makes good sense to have a tiny cheesey coffin representing the poor values at UC Berk today. Guest succinctly proves my point. And, geez, I am sitting here wondering why the Chancellor is paid so low when the football coach gets four times his salary and I am feeling sorry for the Chancellor, just to demonstrate how whacked our world is getting. I know it’s crazy for me to have such irrational responsive thoughts as I read those salary figurse — thanks guest for providing them — but the world seems to have gone mad.

    Seems to me that 1.9 million a year football coach should, at the very least, buy two of those fancy expensive seats the university can’t unload at the new stadium that they insisted on keeping over the Hayward fault, eh? Does paying the football coach $1.9 mil a year have any justification in rational dollar terms. Does football generate revenue for the university? Does football revenue support other sports? Here’s a story idea for berkeleyside: analyze football revenue, and by that I mean research how much money football brings into the university, analyze what football costs the university (and, ultimately, us taxpayers) and tell us if it is a win or a loss.

    Me suspects that football does not pay its own way and I already know it drains resources from other sporting efforts.

    What does it say about our culture when a simulated war game is the focus of an institution that is supposed to stand for higher learning? I know many enjoy watching the games but, often, altho not always, it is my sense that watching football invokes unhealthy emotions in the fans. It is a war game: crush your opponent to win. What is the connection between a war game and, um, education? And how does that connection justify glorifying the sport by paying its head coach $1.9 mil. Here’s another story idea berkeleside: tell us how many coaches the UC Berk team has and tell us all their salaries. And tell us about all the special and expensive support the football players get that other athletes don’t. Tell your readers what football really costs the university, its academic budget, the taxpayers. Me suspects an honest economic cost-benefit analysis would reveal football is not worth nearly as much as the resources it siphons from the university’s primary agenda: education. UC Berkeley’s primary agenda is, right, education? Isn’t it?

  • guest

    The folks at the bottom are out of touch with reality. Compare their UC salaries and benefits package with those performing similar tasks in the market place and you’ll see how falsely the union has always manipulated the kids with this “Up with the Workers” schtick.

  • Tizzielish

    so guest, because the “the marketplace” has been deliberately, cynically and greedily manipulated by rich, influential players who buy influence to stack the deck and, at the same time, manipulate the masses into believing in their free market religion, blame the unioins for the gross inequities in our economic system?

    I’m taking a wild guess and betting that you are closer to being a part of the elite than to being part of the rapidly shrinking middle class, which owed much of its existence to the proud gradition of unions who worked for decades to insure that a rising tide lifts all boats, and not just the boats of the rich?

  • Tizzielish

    It is pure fantasy t think that the elite UC salaries and benefits are based on job perfomance and on comparable tasks in the marketplace. Those salaries and benefits might be comparable to private market jobs but I guarantee you that we could find highly competent, highly skilled humans willing to be football coach, Chancellor or university police chief for far less than these jobs currently pay. It’s all part of the same con and the economic con is not very different from a guy tricking people out of their money in subway stations with card games, betting that you can pick the right card when the deck is marked, the con artist plays skillfully.

    If you were to set out to be a good con artist, wouldnn’t you make it look like the game was fair? The system you allude to is a big con game, financed by the already-rich and getting-richer players. It is intended to delude us into thinking the system is fair,

    One of the many illusions in this con game is that there are very few good football coaches or good chancellor candidates when this is just not true. It is true that to get in on the game, one has to be well connected and maximize one’s connects by sucking up to the right people, as we see real estate developers skillfully suck up to our mayor, stroking his ego as they con him into giving the developers what they want. One of the most puzzling aspects of how the economic game is played today, for me, is how cheaply our politicians are bought off. Campaign contributions seem to buy economic benefits, in the pretense of zoning variances, that far, far exceed what a fair marketplace would charge for the giveaways out politicians give away for a few, comparatively puny, political donations. Sometimes I actually have this thought: “Geez, when politicians give oil companies all kinds of tax writes offs and sell off oil leases, which is an asset that belongs to the commons, to all of us, I hope they are getting private bribes at least, because it just seems so immoral for oil companies to get billions in political giveaways for relatively puny campaign donations.” and then I often think “geez, politicians who sell off the public’s commons for chump change campaign donations probably have a special place in hell, one for people who sold their souls far too cheaply and sold off the public’s benefit”

  • Tizzielish

    I know using a subway huckster stealing dollars from suckers on marked card games is a cheap analogy to our “politicians” selling their souls and our commons is a sad metaphor. Many are sickened to see how politicians sell our commons in exchange for campaign donations that allow them to remain in power. It is a cheap, degrading con. And it is a cheap, degrading con to believe, for example, that Berkeley can only find a good school chief by conducting a national search; what the heck goes on in the Berkeley schools administration if they don’t groom their own staff to rise to the level of head of the system someday? This pattern of national searches to perform what are, essentiallly, nothing more than good professional jobs is part of the con. The national searches for elite jobs, esp. elite publicly-funded ones, reinforces the manufactured-but-artfully-marketed-propaganda that there are only a few competent leaders in each field and the folks scoring these high paying elite jobs, surprise surprise, tend to be well connected. They get their jobs based on connects, not quality. For an illustration of what I am saying, take a look at SF’s heading-out-the-door poor performing housing director: that guy was well connected. Another illustration of what I am saying: the clown the Berkeley board almost hired to run our schools, the bigoted homophobic — obviously that guy became the final candidate because he had done his duty to the neo-con think tanks that funded his rise. They have to have soldiers to fight their war against the middle class.

    Blaming unions is part of the propaganda they teach conservatives at the billionaire-funded retreats guys like Alvarez (SF’s on his way out housing chief who had a reputation for doing the things he did in SF but they hired him anyway!) and the homophobe they tried to hire to run our schools: both of them have attended neo-con think tank retreats that tell them how to rape the public.

    The rich put wolves in our henhouses and then make sure they get paid well to keep them happy and toeing the line.

    Unions made America’s middle class possible. Unions made home ownership a realistic American dream. Unions gave us weekends, paid vacations, health care, federal paid holidays, and 40 hour work weeks that paid a living wage — and in a time when one salary supported a couple and their kids.

    Now the elite want to pay less, accumulate more and so they are crushing unions and, with the unions, the middle class so they will have endless wage slaves who take the low paying lousy jobs.

    Why do you think the right opposes national health care? It’s because it is okay with them if people die from lack of basic health care because with the system they are seeking to create, under the deceptive rhetoric of the pure fantasy of free market capitalism (and, I have to pause cause I’m laughing so hard) will be fair to all and the even more hilaroius and proven-wrong fantasy that lowering taxes on the rich will generate job creation. They’ve been telling us that lie since Reagan, even before Reagan and no one has seen those jobs yet but they keep spinning that rhetoric because they have learned that their money buys power, and Supreme Court justices, and state court judges, and politicians and they are safe from petty concepts such as economic justice and rising tides lifting all boats. They don’t want to lift all boats: they only want to lift their yachts and have their yachts sailed by very low paid workers who are basically working for food.

    And ‘we’ let them do this.

    I am a lifelong Democrat and I’d much rather have a Bill Clinton in the White House than George W. backed by the dark lord Cheney (aka Voldemore) but Bill Clinton colluded in the selling off of the middle class.

  • guest

    Right, because a University system that has been bleeding money would really subsidize the football program out of the goodness of their hearts. Of course the football program generates money. And it is also terribly important for many alumni who don’t share your conviction that it is unhealthy, and many of them do support the university financially.

  • BG

    That’s been done. It’s a loss. The University has been secretly supporting football for years.

  • BG

    If you take a look at who gets the top administrative jobs you will see that almost none of them would be competitive in the private market. The context for these top salaries is the huge incomes of the Regents, none of whom, by the way, are educators.

  • Guest

    You show your ignorance by calling the UC leadership ‘trustees’.
    The REGENTS run the UC ( a sovereign nation within the borders of California ).

  • guest

    Without the rich to create the surplus which affords you the opportunity to rant and be fed and clothed and sheltered, without being in the least productive, you’d be in…Mexico or Serbia… somewhere where “poverty” really means something, besides a desire for more without working.

  • Guest

    Here is a report about the subsidy of sports by student fees, and from general campus funds. http://budgetcrisis.berkeley.edu/?page_id=16

  • zunzie

    That’s bull. People who work at UC often do the work of 2 or more people. My husband’s entire department was laid off….and they didn’t hire anyone to do the work. Guess who does it? My husband. So yeah, he has great health benefits, but don’t kid yourself: he hasn’t had a raise in 5 years, and he works incredibly hard.

  • Goat Man

    Wow, so many people who don’t work here think they have some kind of remote telepathy that allows them to walk in my shoes. Lets all be grateful for what we have and work to protect it from greed.