Wednesday, March 20, 2019

More Strike News

Workers strike today at UC hospitals, campuses statewide for third time in 11 months

Cathie Anderson, March 19, 2019, Sacramento Bee

Thousands of University of California workers are launching their third strike in less than a year Wednesday at 10 campuses and five medical centers statewide, saying their labor contract negotiations have stalled because UC leaders are not willing to address wage inequality and job security...

“For over a year, the University of California has continued to ignore the well-founded concerns of the workers that make this the finest research institution in the world,” said Jamie McDole, president of UPTE-CWA 9119, the union that called the 24-hour strike. “By shortchanging the frontline workers who make UC run every day, administrators are showing a profound lack of commitment to the students, patients, and taxpayers that this institution is supposed to serve.”

The University Professional and Technical Employees-Communications Workers of America 9119 represents 14,000 research, technical and health care workers at UC facilities around the state. Roughly 25,000 members of the AFSCME 3299, the largest UC union, agreed to strike in sympathy with them. The two unions and the UC have been in contract negotiations for roughly two years.

Claire Doan, a spokesperson for the UC Office of the President, said: “If UPTE and AFSCME leaders had channeled as much effort into negotiations as they do into organized theatrics, we’d have a deal by now. Three disruptive strikes in less than one year come at a cost to everyone – patients, students and UC communities – while doing nothing to help unionized workers get closer to a contract and wage increases.”

UPTE-CWA spokesperson Dan Russell said UC leaders continue to ignore their employees’ concerns over wage inequality, job insecurity and employment benefits. Wednesday’s job action drew the attention of presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, one of the nation’s most outspoken critics of the growing gap in pay between executives and their rank-and-file employees. He will speak at a rally at UCLA...

The UPTE-CWA membership includes positions such as art therapists, case managers, audiologists, animal technicians, lab assistants, art models and pharmacists on the UC’s 10 campuses and five medical centers. AFSCME 3299 represents many low-wage workers, including admitting clerks, anesthesia technicians, MRI technologists, cooks, gardeners and security guards.

AFSCME and UPTE-CWA joined the California Nurses Association in a walkout in May. Nurses ratified a contract deal in September that gave them 15 percent wage increases over five years, and as part of that agreement, they said they would not launch sympathy strikes. Members of AFSCME 3299 voted to hit the picket line in October and UPTE-CWA joined them...

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