Saturday, March 30, 2019

Strike News (Coming April 10)

UC union plans to have 24,000 workers strike to protest ‘hostile work environment’

Cathie Anderson, 3-29-19, Sacramento Bee

The University of California’s largest labor union, AFSCME 3299, said Friday it plans a one-day strike April 10 to protest unfair labor practices, saying the university system has used communications, retaliatory actions and intimidation tactics to instill fear in employees.

“Through its actions, the University of California has created a hostile work environment that undermines workers’ ability to exercise their rights and voice concerns in the workplace,” said AFSCME Local 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger, in a news release. “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.”

UC spokesperson Claire Doan issued a statement that, in part, read: “AFSCME leaders’ alleged reasons for demonstrating are stacking up as quickly as the number of strikes they’re spearheading. This will be the fourth systemwide 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 UC serves.”

AFSCME 3299 filed a complaint Monday with the state of California’s labor agency, the Public Employment Labor Relations Board. In the filing, the union made a number of allegations, including that:

▪ Various UC representatives have attempted to instill fear in union members with physical confrontation. On Oct. 25, 2018, picketers reported to UC Davis police that a manager twice charged his vehicle at them and then exited the vehicle to yell at them and shove some strikers. In a February 2018 demonstration at UC Berkeley, picketers faced down an angry driver attempting to accelerate through the crowd. UC police grabbed one of the picketers and threw him to the ground to arrest him. Charges were dropped against the picketer but he has not returned to a picket line since then.

▪ Supervisors have rewarded unionized workers who cross the picket line with free meals and even a pool party.

▪ Management attempted to force out a UC Merced custodian who serves on the union’s bargaining committee by reprimanding her union activity and dealing out unfavorable work assignments. The worker took an unpaid leave, citing work-related stress.

▪ In a private meeting, a UC San Diego supervisor encouraged workers to “give themselves a raise” by opting out of AFSCME membership.

▪ Human resource executives and other UC leaders have sent out communications to employees telling them union strikes are undermining patient safety at UC’s academic medical centers. During each labor action, AFSCME noted, it has voluntarily left more workers on duty than PERB required, and it has set up a contingency plan to allow the UC to call in additional workers in the event of an emergency.

...The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees 3299 has 24,000 members, many of them among UC’s lowest-paid staff. They include service workers such as custodians, gardeners, food service workers and facilities maintenance staff, in addition to patient-care workers such as medical transcribers, phlebotomists, admitting clerks and respiratory therapists.

The union and UC have been negotiating for two years, and since contracts expired, AFSCME has authorized walkouts May 7-9, 2018; Oct. 23-25, 2018; March 20; and now April 10. The labor actions have targeted all 10 UC campuses and its five academic medical centers.

Full story at

No comments: