Protest hits campus worker layoffs at San Francisco State

By Betsey Stone
September 28, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO — Over 200 workers, students and supporters rallied at San Francisco State University here Sept. 12 to protest layoffs of 131 campus workers. Among those slated for layoff are maintenance workers who are members of the Teamsters, as well as office and information technology workers organized by the California State University Employees Union. No academic faculty are being cut.

“I have a wife and children to support,” Oscar Portillo, a painter, told this Militant worker-correspondent. “Now I’m making $30 an hour with benefits. It’s not easy to get another job like this today.”

“I’m paying $2,000 for a small apartment for me and my wife,” said painter Enrique Garcia. “Losing this job means it’s going to be hard to keep up with the rent, that keeps going up.”

John Del, a painter who doesn’t face layoff because he has high seniority, was there to support his co-workers.

Almost all the students are taking courses online and the campus is deserted. The California State University system had $22 million cut from its state funding this year and the number of students enrolled is expected to fall.

T-shirts and signs carried by the protesters said, “Chop from the top,” referring to the bloated salaries of top university administrators. “Many of them make $100,000 a year and more,” said Denise Miyajima, an office worker in the computer science department.

“Computer science is one of the biggest departments,” she said. “Two of us work in the department office and now the other person has been cut.”

Joel Britton, Socialist Workers Party candidate for Congress, participated in the protest. “I support the fight for no layoffs,” Britton told Miyajima. “There are layoffs like this taking place throughout the country, devastating the lives of workers. To stop layoffs, our party says our unions need to fight to shorten the workweek with no cut in pay.”