Frowning face cartoon.

This Date in UCSF History: Staff Lose Holidays

Monday, November 14, 2022

Originally published in Synapse on November 18, 1976.

The employees of the University of California are receiving two paid holidays less than usual this year, and many are fighting mad about it.

The American Federation of State. County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) locals on the different UC campuses have organized a petition drive to document worker discontent.

AFSCME local 1650 at UCSF has submitted to the University copies of petitions containing 1,300 names which were gathered in one week of activity, and expects to collect many more signatures in coming weeks.

UC employees are losing two days off this year because both Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Saturdays. UC personnel policy dictates that holidays falling on a Sunday be given on the following Monday but that holidays falling on a Saturday not be made up at all.

AFSCME claims that the University policies governing holiday make-up dates are flexible because the University did allow make-up for holidays falling on Saturdays in 1970 and 1971.

The union claims however that the two holidays were only granted after considerable union pressure on the University.

Outlook dim

According to Tony Lisa of the UC Academic and Staff Personnel Relations office, it is “not inconceivable” for the University to grant the requested days off. but there are “no plans to do so.”

Lisa said that University of California personnel matters are generally patterned after those developed by the State of California, and that the State is not granting these holidays.

“If the State decides to go beyond existing policy and is willing to fund these days, we’ll be first in line asking ‘how about us too, said Lisa.

Policy change

The campus employees’ union is demanding that the official personnel policy be changed to explicitly mandate make-up days off for holidays falling on a Saturday.

“This dispute has happened before and it’s going to come up every few years until the policy is changed,” said Jonathan March of AFSCME 1650.

The University is taking a non-committal attitude towards the union’s demands.

“We’d love to be as generous as we possibly can,” said Lisa. “But there is a political reality where the taxpayer says wait a minute.”

“This is an in fl amatory issue.” Lisa said, “since we are so near Christmas. There’s a lot of mileage to be gained for an employee organization.”

In its leaflets AFSCME is calling UC “the university that stole Christmas.”