UC healthcare and service workers to begin three-day strike
20 October 2018
Following a 96 percent strike vote, 25,000 employees at the University of California are preparing for a three-day strike from Tuesday, October 23 through Thursday, October 25. This is the largest group of service and patient care workers in California, represented by the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
AFSCME is the largest of the fifteen unions in the UC system, representing its lowest-paid workers, over 8,000 of whom are service workers and 13,000 patient care workers. They will be joined in a solidarity strike by the University Professional Technical Employee-Communications Workers of America (UPTE-CWA), which represents 15,000 UC communications workers.
For over a year, AFSCME has kept its 25,000 members on the job without a contract. Their current contract expired June 30, 2018 and workers have been kept completely in the dark about the negotiations between the union and UC.
AFSCME claims that the University of California has locked them out of negotiations, offering 3 percent across-the-board raises for each year of the contract and the elimination of step increases for five years. Additionally, the union states that UC’s current proposal raises the retirement age to 65 and provides no wording to prevent contracting-out of jobs.
Despite the empty phrases by AFSCME about opposing “contracting out jobs,” the unions have put up no fight against this practice, subcontracting jobs to outside companies and UC’s own Temporary Employment Services (TES). Workers at subcontractors are paid as much as 53 percent less than UC career workers, in addition to receiving only catastrophic health benefits if any, and can be fired for any reason,…