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FAQ About March 20 AFSCME Strike

March 8, 2019

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Q: Why is our AFSCME 3299 leadership calling for a strike in solidarity with UPTE members?

For two years, AFSCME 3299 has been calling on the university to address the deep income, racial, and gender inequality throughout the UC system, driven by outsourcing jobs to contract companies. But we are not alone. The 15,000 technical, healthcare, and research professionals of UPTE-CWA 9119 have raised similar issues with UC, and the university has responded with the same disregard. UPTE’s research and technical workers have called a strike for March 20th, and AFSCME will join in solidarity. UPTE struck twice in solidarity with us last year, and now is our time to support them, because they are fighting for same things we are, and an injury to one is an injury to all.

Q. Is striking legal? Am I protected if I go on strike?

Yes. All UC employees have the right to strike under the law. Although UC attempts to claim AFSCME strikes are illegal, our legal team has successfully defended them at PERB, the Public Employment Relations Board. Retaliation from UC management against anyone for participating in the strike is strictly illegal. Illegal retaliation includes: reducing someone’s appointment or regular hours, changing schedules, and any discipline. AFSCME has and will continue to defend workers experiencing retaliation due to participation in legally protected strikes and union activity. If this occurs, please contact your MAT leader or organizer immediately.

Q. How should I respond if my supervisor asks me if I am going on strike or if I am going to come to work during the strike?

You do not have to answer any questions about your participation in a strike. UC does not have the right to intimidate you or insist that you answer questions about your participation in the strike and any other legally protected union activity. You should not sign anything from management about whether or not you plan to work during strike. If your supervisor asks you about your participation, they must inform you that you do not need to answer and that UC will not retaliate against you for your participation in the strike. If they do not, please contact your MAT leader immediately.

Q: Why is UC telling us that our strike will hurt students and patients?

UC will do anything to stop us from striking, which will impact UC financially. Our union has worked diligently to protect our patients before and during any strike. Our bargaining team has given UC 10-day notice of our strike and has organized a Patient Protection Task Force which helps UC staff the hospital in the case a true emergency arises during a strike.

Q: When and where is the strike? What should I do if I am scheduled to work on night shift before the strike starts?

The strike starts at 4:00 AM on March 20 and ends at 3:59 AM on March 21. Anyone who is in the middle of a shift when the strike starts at 4:00 AM on March 20 should continue working until the regular end time of that shift. Anyone who is on the picket line and was scheduled to work a shift commencing prior to 4:00 AM on Thursday, March 21 should remain on strike through the close of that shift and not report to work in mid-shift. You will be asked to sign up for an 8-hour picket shift for the day of the strike. You should report on time for your picket shift and sign in immediately when you arrive. Your MAT leader or Organizer will let you know where to report.

Q. What do I need to do on the day of strike? Do I call in daily to tell my supervisor? Do I call in sick? Do I need to use vacation time?

You do not need to call-in sick, request vacation or any other type of leave during the strike. AFSCME sends notice to the UC before we strike about the times, locations of the strike. This serves as the requirement for all AFSCME-represented employees.

Q. What should I do if my supervisor tells me that I have to come to work during the strike and/or shows me some document saying that?

Contact the union immediately. UC’s standard scare tactic is to convince some employees that they are “required” to work. As in previous strikes, AFSCME will work with PERB and UC so that a limited number of employees will work during the strike and others will be available if needed through the Patient Protection Task Force. AFSCME will have a list of anyone who should go to work, so check with your MAT leader or Organizer.

Q. What if my supervisor calls me during my off days to ask me to work a shift during the strike?

If your supervisor tries to call you into work on the days you are not scheduled to work, you should tell them “I am not available. I will be participating in the Union strike.” You are not required to work during
those days.

Q. What is my legal right to strike as a per-diem, probationary, or limited appointment employee at UC?

All workers covered by the AFSCME agreement have the legal right to strike, including per-diem, limited, and probationary workers. Under our agreement, limited, per-diem and probationary workers can be let go for any reason—except in cases of retaliation for union activity (like striking). Again, retaliation from UC management is strictly illegal, and our union will defend workers experiencing retaliation due to participation in legally protected strikes and union activity. If this occurs, please contact your MAT leader or organizer immediately.

Q. I support the strike, but do I have to come to the picket line when I am not scheduled to work?

ALL AFSCME members should come to the picket line whether or not you are scheduled to work during the strike. UC must see our strength in numbers and patients, students and the media will support us more if we are in front of our hospitals and campuses.

Last modified: March 8, 2019

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