OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – The union representing nearly 13,000 workers at University of California hospitals has been authorized to strike.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 said in a statement Tuesday that 97 percent of members who voted last week at five UC hospitals and at health centers on all 10 UC campuses approved a potential strike.

The employees, including radiology and surgical technicians, patient care assistants, vocational nurses and custodians, have been working without a contract since October.

At issue is what the union calls “chronic understaffing” and “reckless cost-cutting” amid “exorbitant” pay for management and executives.

Messages sent to representatives of the UC health system were not immediately returned.

The union held a five-day strike during its last contract talks in 2008.

[Source]: KGO 810 AM Radio