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Q: Why is our AFSCME 3299 bargaining team calling for a strike vote?
Our Bargaining Team has been negotiating in good faith. UC still has yet to offer real wage increases, benefit protections, job security, safe staffing and ending discrimination in the workplace. Instead, UC wants us to take cuts. We have reached the final impasse in SX Bargaining. If UC continues to refuse to meet our core demands, we must be prepared to take all actions necessary to win, including striking. That’s why our bargaining team is calling for a strike vote to show UC that we are ready to fight for what we deserve. Patient Care workers are voting to join the lines with Service workers in solidarity; all UC workers deserve better.
Q. Is striking legal? Am I protected if I go on strike?
Yes. All UC employees have the legal right to strike under the law. Although UC attempts to claim AFSCME strikes are illegal, our legal team has successfully defended them at the 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: Is a multiple-day strike going to hurt students and patients?
We work diligently to protect our patients before and during any strike. This includes giving 10- day notice of any hospital strike and organizing a Patient Protection Task Force which helps UC staff the hospital in the case a true emergency arises during a strike. Our strike is to highlight issues affecting students and patients as a result of intentional chronic understaffing. UC has rejected all of our safe staffing demands in negotiations.
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 interrogate you about your legally protected union activity. However, they may attempt to “survey” workers to assess staffing levels. Again, you don’t need to answer. 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, please contact your MAT leader immediately.
Q: Can my supervisor write me up for not showing up to work during a strike?
No. Your supervisor cannot discipline you for participating in the strike. It is a legally protected activity and any retaliation is illegal. If this happens, contact your MAT leader or organizer immediately.
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 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 should not call-in sick, request vacation or any other type of leave during the strike. Strikes are not like any other time off. AFSCME sends notice to the UC before we strike. This serves as the requirement for all AFSCME represented employees. All members need to do is show up to the picket line. Sick time can only be used for legitimate medical uses, which has nothing to do with a strike. Additionally, UC typically denies use of vacation on strike days.
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 unavailable. 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 perdiem, probationary, or limited appointment employee at UC?
AFSCME’s contracts with UC are expired, so all AFSCME workers have the legal right to strike, including per-diem, limited or on probation. Under our current 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. However, strike assistance is also only given to members who participate in scheduled picket duty during the strike.
Q: Will I be paid by the union for going on strike?
Going on strike is a sacrifice for our members to show UC that we are willing to what it takes to win. If/when our bargaining team calls for a strike, AFSCME 3299 members are expected to show up to the picket line every day and not go to work for the whole duration of the strike. Our union has a limited fund to assist striking members who experience hardship and pay for strike food and logistics. The Executive Board has decided that in case of a multiple-day strike, members will be eligible for hardship assistance if they attend a full shift at the the picket line for every day of the strike. Hardship assistance is $70 for each day of picket duty. If a member went to work at UC during the strike, s/he will not be eligible to receive hardship assistance.
Q: Can student workers honor the strike?
YES. The law protects student employees’ right to organize, bargain AND strike with other striking workers (see Section 3562(e) of the California Government Code). Student employees share the same legal protections as other employees under labor law. The labor board has further ruled that it is unlawful for an employer to take action against unrepresented employees who support union-represented employees (Delano Union Elementary School District (1982) PERB Decision No. 213).
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