FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 23, 2013
CONTACT: Todd Stenhouse, email@example.com,
STRIKE WRAP UP: UC PATIENTS AND CALIFORNIA LEADERS STAND WITH UC HOSPITAL WORKERS
“overwhelming majority of UC Hospital patient care workers” participated in strike
OAKLAND: The historic first-ever strike amongst UC Patient Care Technical Workers represented by AFSCME 3299 drew thousands of workers, their families, patients and elected leaders from across California to picket lines at UC Hospitals in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Irvine and San Diego.
“Over the last two days, thousands of devoted, career healthcare professionals—and the overwhelming majority of UC hospital patient care workers—sent a strong and unmistakable message to top UC Administrators,” said Kathryn Lybarger, President of AFSCME 3299. “We will not allow our patients, our colleagues, or our families to be shortchanged or needlessly put at risk.”
Among those who joined thousands of UC Patient Care workers during the two day strike were a number of local and state elected leaders: including State Senator Leland Yee, Assembly Members Dr. Richard Pan, Roger Hernandez Roger Dickinson, and Shirley Weber, San Francisco Supervisor David Campos, and Sacramento City Councilmember Darrell Fong, among others.
“Worker and patient protections are critical to providing quality healthcare,” said Assembly Health Committee Chairman Dr. Richard Pan. “I am proud to stand with the dedicated professionals and staff of the UC system as they fight for the resources and policies needed to do their jobs building a healthier California.”
“I will stand in solidarity with the staff from the UC system to protect patients and demand proper staffing levels for high quality health care as Chair of the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee,” said Assemblyman Roger Hernandez.
“This demonstration is about adequately serving our families and communities across the state when they enter a UC hospital,” added Assemblyman Roger Dickinson. “AFSCME’s workers provide top quality care and support for patients and families each and every day. I support the workers of AFSCME 3299 because what you do matters to all Californians.”
“I support the striking workers from AFSCME 3299 who are fighting every day to improve patient conditions at their hospitals,” said Assemlywoman Bonilla. “These dedicated health professionals are the ones on the front lines caring for our patients while dealing with disputes affecting staffing ratios, break times, and loss of work from outside contractors. This cannot be tolerated and we should expect better care at taxpayer funded UC medical centers.”
Also standing shoulder to shoulder with striking patient care workers were AFSCME International President Lee Saunders, labor leaders from across California, UC hospital patients, and their families.
“I gave my mom one of my kidneys three and a half years ago here at UCSF, and these workers gave my mom a new life,” said Patrick Popovitch. “What UC is doing to patient care today is outrageous, and I felt it was important to be here so that future generations of Californians can access the same high quality of care that my mom received.”
Due to AFSCME 3299’s court validated patient protection plan, no major problems or disruptions were reported during the two day strike. A select number of respiratory therapists staffed UC Hospital PICU, NICU and Burn Units, and through direct communication with UC doctors, AFSCME 3299’s Patient Protection Task Force handled emergency needs at multiple hospital locations.
“We could not be prouder of our membership for their unflinching commitment to high quality patient care,” Lybarger added. “The tremendous outpouring of support we received from patients, elected leaders, and so many others on the picket line was a testament to the fact that the people of California stand with us. Moving forward, we hope that UC will return to the bargaining table with substantial movement and a good faith proposal on our core issues. The $20 million they spent during the last two days could have done a lot to arrest the growing patient safety issues afflicting their hospitals. The Executives who are enriching themselves at the expense of taxpayers and those we serve would be well advised to remember fighting for our patients is not a two day struggle for the frontline providers at the heart of the UC Medical System—it is what we do everyday and we will not rest until UC settles a fair contract.”
UC Patient Care Technical Workers include Respiratory Therapists, Nursing Aides, X-Ray Technicians, Certified Nursing Assistants, MRI Technologists, Licensed Vocational Nurses, Surgical Technicians, Diagnostic Sonographers, Pathology Lab Technicians, Pharmacy Technicians, OR Technicians, and many others.