According to reports on Facebook and an activist blog, activists from AFSCME local 3299, a statewide local representing University of California employees, will be leading an attempt to shut down today’s meeting of the UC Regents.
Protest organizers say the Regents will be voting today “to vote to force paycuts up to 5% on all [UC] employees … so UC executives can keep their lavish retirement benefits,” and they plan to block that vote by mass action.
The Regents have been meeting since Tuesday on the campus of UC San Francisco Mission Bay. The meeting is scheduled to resume sometime this morning, and protest buses are scheduled to leave Berkeley at 6:45 (that’s about ten minutes from now).
Update | Here’s some background on today’s vote, from the Fresno Bee. AFSCME is quoted in the article as predicting that proposed changes would reduce pensions of UC’s lowest-paid employees by as much as 36%.
7:00 am California time | Multiple reports say that activists will attempt to citizens’ arrest UC President Mark Yudof at today’s meeting. Also, there’s apparently going to be a big puppet.
7:05 am | It’s important to point out that only two UC campuses — Berkeley and Merced — are in session right now. The system’s other eight schools start classes later this month. (On September 24 2009, many of you will recall, UC students started off their school year with a bang, staging a ten-thousand-student walkout across the system in response to massive fee hikes and the defunding of the university.)
9:15 am | One Twitter report from a bystander says that “loud protests” are causing “chaos” on the UCSF campus.
9:25 am | The start time of the livestream has been pushed off multiple times, with no explanation.
9:50 am | Livestreaming is finally up, and public comment is underway.
10:10 am | UC Student Regent Jesse Cheng has started his day’s liveblogging, and says that the public comment period was delayed because of an extended closed session. He reports that a lot of union members are in the building for the public comment period, but doesn’t mention any disruption.
Seems really strange to me that a statewide union local would make an empty threat to shut down a Regents meeting, but it appears that may be what happened this morning. Weird.
10:15 am | I spoke too soon, and my instincts were right. There’s an action inside the meeting going on now — it began at the end of the public comment period.
10:20 am | UC police have cleared the room.
1:15 pm | The meeting continued as scheduled after the disruption, and there appear to have been no arrests.
Friday | The Daily Californian has a rundown of yesterday’s events.