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"Going public" at UC-Irvine

October 28, 2005 | Page 4

I AM a student at the University of California-Irvine (UCI), and I recently met some members of your organization during a Laguna Beach protest against the Minutemen. I am writing to you regarding a "going public" rally at UCI for the dining service workers.

The situation is this: ARAMARK has come to monopolize the UCI food industry, owning almost all food services on campus, including dorm dining halls, cafes, food carts, etc. UCI has basically outsourced workers from that corporation, fully knowing the unfair wages and treatment of the workers.

They have a wage of about $8.50 an hour--far below the living wage for Orange County (where Irvine is located). These workers can't afford health insurance because it's so expensive, and for those who can squeeze out the $300 or so per month for health insurance that ARAMARK offers, they often get rejected for services which are supposedly not covered.

What we the students and the workers want to do together is to force UCI to classify these workers as University of California (UC) workers, thus giving them access to benefits other UC workers are entitled to. This way, health insurance and vacation pay will not be merely fantasy. The other part of the campaign is to kick ARAMARK off campus and give food service decision-making powers to our student government.

This rally is just a first step in trying to unionize the workers and fight with them for some long-delayed justice. The "going public" rally will be held on October 26 at 3 p.m. at UCI, next to the administration building. I really hope you can come and bring as many people as possible because we want to put UCI to shame for what it has done, or rather what it has failed to do--protect workers.

This is an issue that is utterly connected to the Minutemen issue--it is all about worker and immigrant rights, and solidarity.
Kevin Li, Irvine, Calif.

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