Union shuts down three-day strike by California healthcare and service workers


AFSCME officials attempt to suppress WSWS reporting team

Union shuts down three-day strike by California healthcare and service workers

Evelyn Rios

10 March 2020

A three-day strike by service and patient tech workers at the University of California ended on Thursday, despite the fact that nothing has been won for the workers, who are the lowest paid in the public institution of higher learning.

Nearly 24,000 workers are in the union that organized the strike, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). This includes over 8,000 service workers (custodians, food and hospital service workers, and shuttle bus drivers) and 13,000 patient care workers, such as operation room specialists, respiratory therapists, patient care assistants, pharmacy technicians, hospital lab techs, phlebotomists.

However, turnout for the strike was reportedly low, with as many as 75 percent workers reporting for work. This reflects a complete lack of confidence in AFSCME and its stunts. After a similar strike in 2014, AFSCME signed a deal with the employers and hastened to declare a “victory.” In fact, the contract did nothing to prevent workers from sinking even further into poverty.

AFSCME has kept its 25,000 members on the job without a contract for over a year. Their current contract expired June 30, 2017.

The WSWS spoke to striking workers at the UC Los Angeles and UC San Diego Medical Center.

Mike, a pharmacy tech, has been working at UC San Diego for seven years. He said he was striking to improve work and patient care. “We need resources, a sustainable living. Cost of living is expensive, especially in San Diego. Rent increases every year. Day care is very expensive, and we receive no benefits for this.

“I used to work in private sector and did not…

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