RELEASE: Court Rejects UC’s Attempt to Silence Workers Striking for Equality

May 4, 2018

CONTACT: JOHN DE LOS ANGELES | jdelosangeles@afscme3299.org | 650-438-1961

(OAKLAND, CA) – A California Superior Court rejected the University of California’s attempt to block more than 700 of its workers from participating in a planned May 7-9 strike. Instead, it has sided with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) and AFSCME Local 3299—the union that is leading next week’s strike—in requiring only a small number of critical medical workers to report for work.

In the past, UC has filed and failed to secure similar injunctions seeking to stop its workers from engaging in legally protected strike activity. In announcing its strike, AFSCME also announced the formation of a Patient Protection Task Force comprised of striking workers who would be available to meet urgent medical needs at UC hospitals in the event that UC’s strike contingency plans break down.

The strike follows more than a year of stalled negotiations, the University’s recent decision to unilaterally impose higher healthcare premiums, more outsourcing of its lowest wage service workers, and new research that revealed increasingly unequal treatment of women and people of color performing service jobs at the University. State lawmakers also denounced UC administrators on Friday for failing to “negotiate in good faith.”

In response to today’s developments, AFSCME Local 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger issued the following statement:

“We’re pleased that the courts have affirmed the right of UC workers to strike. This strike would not be necessary but for UC’s refusal to honor its responsibility to treat women, immigrants, and people of color equally. UC’s attempts to block this strike were just another desperate attempt by Administrators to silence workers who are exercising their legal right to speak up against widening inequality at the University.

“The reality is that even as AFSCME represented workers stand up to inequality at the University, they remain committed to putting UC patients first through our Patient Protection Task Force—even though the onus of preparing for such contingencies is on UC. As UC continues its efforts to silence workers and perpetuate unequal treatment of women and people of color, we will continue to advocate for fairness, while prioritizing public health and safety.”

UC’s efforts to also block large numbers of workers represented by the California Nurses Association and the University Professional and Technical Employees—each of whom have announced plans to join AFSCME represented patient care workers in a sympathy strike—were also rejected.

Last modified: May 4, 2018

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