Study reveals food insecurity for UC workers

Columnist Jeno Veltri

Columnist Jeno Veltri

University of California clerical and administrative support workers have been hit hard with the reality of not getting paid a high enough salary to bring food home to their families.
In a Occidental College study, released last Monday, reported 45 percent of 2,890 employees surveyed throughout the 10 UC campus system are going hungry at times in their workplace. This has had major impacts on many employees by causing health concerns such as having to change the quality of their diet because money is an issue. The food insecurity in the UC system ishigher among workers than those of students.
“This is not a handful of people who happen to be down on their luck. They need a living wage so they can afford to feed their families,” said Peter Dreier, a professor of politics at Occidental College.
UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said they are in the starting to discuss over contract negotiations. These talks could lead to beneficial wages that could affect the future of employees and their families in the UC system.
UC President Janet Napolitano has announced that a $3.3 million effort will be added to help stop against malnutrition on campuses. This might be something that benefits students but in the end, employees still are in a battle of trying to get high enough wages to feed their families.
The other factor that could be affecting employees in the UC system are the high housing costs that make it very difficult to live comfortably.
This shouldn’t change the fact the UC board is still not supporting their employees with a secure workplace that also gives them benefits for their families. Giving back to their employees is something that the UC administration should do soonerthan later. This is an issue that needs to be solved before employees start leaving their jobs or even start up protests against unfair wages.
The UC system needs to start looking into more statistics of how many of their employees are having trouble feeding their families. This is a problem that could be solved if the board would look more into higher wages or better benefits.
This little epidemic is leading towards situations where UC employees have to skip meals just to have enough money to buy their daily health medications and support their families.
Joseph Meyer, a 31-year old administrative assistant at UC Berkeley, has had to to skip breakfast and even several meals throughout the day just to have enough money to get his asthma medication. “It becomes Top Ramen week,” said Meyer.
It’s people like Meyer who need the help of the UC system to be more reliable and effective and to make sure their employees are being taken care of for basic necessities.
It’s a situation which is taking place not only in the UC system but also throughout the country but no one has yet to speak on behalf of other universities. The UC system needs to come to a mutual agreement in the near future which helps benefit the wages of their employees, as well as making it possible to help aid their families and to overcome medical obstacles that some may face.