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Employee union files unfair labor practice complaints against UC

October 29, 2019

The complaints address outsourcing, which they say is on the rise


By Kevin Smith | San Gabriel Valley Tribune

The University of California‘s largest employee union has filed six new unfair labor practice complaints against U.C. that allege the school is systematically and secretly outsourcing jobs to low wage contractors.

Kathryn Lybarger, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 3299, said the practice has ramped up.

More prevalent

“What is so troubling about UC’s continuing illegal conduct is that it’s becoming even more prevalent,” Lybarger said in a statement. “It’s past time for UC to change course and treat all of their workers with the respect and security we deserve.”

When contacted Tuesday, UC spokesman Andrew Gordon said the school didn’t have a formal response to the allegations.

“The University of California has just received these complaints from AFSCME, and we are currently reviewing them,” he said. “UC will address AFSCME’s allegations through the proper legal process.”

The allegations:

The complaints allege UC has:

  • Entered into or renewed no fewer than 25 contracts with outsourcing companies, and then secretly amended many of those contracts to expand their scope and terms without notifying or bargaining with affected university employees.
  • Amended outsourcing agreements to exempt at least one contractor from UC’s own minimum wage policy.
  • Exempted itself from the university’s own competitive bidding rules in order to extend and expand outsourcing contracts longer than 10 years without notifying affected UC employees.
  • Used secret contract renewals to evade internal requirements that require the university to stop outsourcing work through contracts designed to save money on wages and benefits that would normally be afforded to university employees performing the same jobs.
  • Refused to notify the union of request for proposals (bids)  involving outsourcing of union-represented jobs, and refused to bargain with affected workers.
  • Refused to fill vacant staff positions to maintain and repair medical equipment in UC facilities in order to outsource the work to private vendors.

Lower starting wages

AFSCME claims black women and other workers of color are the most adversely affected by UC’s outsourcing practices. As direct employees their starting wages are as much as 23% lower than white men doing similar jobs, the union said, and as outsourced workers they are paid as much as 53% less than regular UC employees.

When issues of outsourcing and wage disparity were raised earlier this year, UC spokeswoman Claire Doan said the school’s service-contract practices align with university policy, its collective bargaining agreements and state law.

“UC can’t lay off any AFSCME-represented employee who is displaced as a result of a sub-contracting decision, and the university’s agreements with AFSCME bar U.C from contracting out for the sole purpose of saving on wages and benefits,” Doan said via email.

Moreover, the number and earnings of AFSCME-represented workers in the UC system have actually grown over time, she said.

“From 2013 to 2018, the union grew by 17%, adding 3,626 more workers for a total of 24,979,” Doan said. “An AFSCME employee is earning, on average, 21% more in wages now than five years ago.”

AFSCME Local 3299 represents more than 25,000 service and patient care technical workers at UC’s 10 campuses, five medical centers, numerous clinics, research laboratories and UC Hastings College of Law.

Service workers range from security guards and cooks, to custodians and truck drivers, while patient care technical workers take in such jobs as nurse Aids, respiratory therapists, radiology technologists and patient transporters.

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[Source]: OC Register

Last modified: November 3, 2019

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