Saturday, March 9, 2019

UC Strike News

39,000 UC workers will strike again, protesting income gaps and job insecurity

Cathie Anderson, March 8, 2019,
Sacramento Bee

A union representing 14,000 research, technical and health care workers at the University of California will go on strike March 20, labor leaders said Friday, because UC leaders are ignoring their concerns about job security, benefit erosion and income inequality.

Members of the University Professional and Technical Employees-Communications Workers of America 9119 will not walk out alone. Roughly 25,000 service and patient care workers in AFSCME Local 3299 are also negotiating a new labor contract with the UC, and their leaders said they will honor the picket line and walk out in solidarity with UPTE-CWA.

“For nearly 2 years, UC has refused to recognize the value of its workers and has instead worked to worsen income inequality,” said AFSCME 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger. “Thousands of UC workers represented by UPTE-CWA recognize that the university’s efforts to flatten wages, cut benefits, and eliminate middle-class career pathways are hurting families, and our members are proud to strike with them in solidarity.”

University spokesperson Claire Doan issued a statement Friday, saying: “The university feels the way to a deal is at the bargaining table – not on the picket lines – and should not come at the expense of patients, students, the university, and our communities. We are disappointed with UPTE leadership, demanding unreasonable double-digit raises (16 to 22 percent over the proposed terms of the agreement) that are far beyond those given to other UC employees.”

The UC and AFSCME had recently returned to the bargaining table, but AFSCME leaders said it was important for them to support co-workers who had joined them on the picket line in October. UC leaders described the move as “disingenuous,” adding that this was proof that union negotiators are not truly engaging in the bargaining process.

The AFSCME bargaining team rejected the UC’s last, best and final offer in the fall and called a strike after UC leaders decided to go ahead with 2 percent cost-of-living increases and other contract terms...

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