An estimated 25,000 University of California workers plan to stage a one-day strike April 10, accusing the school system of using intimidation tactics to prevent them from protesting the outsourcing of jobs.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 3299, which represents the service and patient care workers, announced the strike Friday, March 29. The union claims the university is interfering with their rights and creating a climate of fear as the two sides grapple with stalled labor negotiations.
“We will not allow UC to silence the voices of its most vulnerable workers — who’re overwhelmingly people of color– and we will take all necessary actions to hold UC accountable for any illegal behavior,” union President Kathryn Lybarger said in a statement.
Unfair labor practice charge
The employees filed an unfair labor practice charge with the Public Employment Relations Board earlier this week. The allegations include workplace retaliation and threats of police citations for speaking out against the university’s practice of outsourcing jobs to contract workers.
Incidents cited in the unfair labor practice charge include an October 2018 encounter in which a UC Davis manager allegedly assaulted striking workers and allied students.
UC didn’t address the claims of intimidation or violence Friday, but it responded to the planned strike:
“This will be the fourth system-wide strike in less than a year — it’s abundantly clear union leaders have little regard for the negative impact on the patients, students and communities that U.C. serves,” UC spokeswoman Claire Doan said via email.
Doan said the workers want raises that are “nearly twice or triple that of other UC employees.” She is encouraging them to engage in good-faith bargaining.
The 15,000 patient care workers — including nursing aides, respiratory therapists, radiology technologists and patient transporters — held a three-day strike in October. A similar protest was held earlier last year with 10,000 service workers, which includes custodians, groundskeepers, security guards and truck drivers.
The service workers’ contract expired in July 2017, followed by the patient care contract five months later.
Last offer largely unchanged
UC presented an offer to AFSCME last August that has remained largely unchanged, according to union spokesman John de los Angeles.
It includes 3% across-the-board wage increases in each of the next four years, health benefits at the same rates as other UC employees with similar salaries, and no change in pension benefits. But it doesn’t address job outsourcing.
Fear of job security
Rosalyn Williams, an MRI technologist at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, expressed her fears about job security in September. She’s a single parent with a mortgage who wants to help her 20-year-old daughter pay for college.
“We are asking for a raise, but if they give that to us how do we know they won’t outsource our jobs next year?” the Pasadena resident said. “Our objective is to keep our jobs. I have two people who work in MRI who were brought in as contract workers. We trained these people … but they are waiting for us to go on strike so they can take our jobs.”
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