More than 1,000 lecturers at five University of California campuses are picketing instead of teaching as part of a two-day strike they hope will pressure the administration to compromise on contract issues.

They have been working without a contract for more than two years, said Kevin Roddy, president of the University Council-American Federation of Teachers and a lecturer of medieval studies at UC Davis.

“We would like to be recognized as participants in the system,” said Roddy, who has worked as a lecturer since 1976. “The chief negotiator said lecturers do not have positions, they have classes — which allows them to get rid of us at will. That is prejudicial.”

The non-tenured lecturers waved signs and marched at campuses in Santa Cruz, Irvine, Davis, Riverside and Santa Barbara on Monday. Informational fliers were distributed at Berkeley and San Diego.

University officials have said the system is cash-strapped because of the ailing state budget and cannot offer lecturers more compensation. University officials estimate there are 2,500 lecturers, while the union puts it closer to 4,000 by including those who teach just one class.

“At this point, UC has pretty much done everything it can,” said spokesman Paul Schwartz. “The state’s view is that the appropriate place to resolve the differences is at the bargaining table, not on the street corner or at campus plazas.”

The lecturers, who are part time and full time, teach about 30 percent of the system’s undergraduate courses. In addition to more money, they are asking for job security and equal treatment, such as being able to apply for grants and serve as department heads.

Negotiations were expected to resume Tuesday.

–Associated Press