FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 14, 2014
CONTACT: Todd Stenhouse, (916) 397-1131, firstname.lastname@example.org
UC Regent and CA Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom: “it is time for the UC to show its lowest paid workers that they are a valued part of the UC family”
Oakland: After three days of voting, the University of California’s 8300 Service Workers have voted to authorize a strike and its more than 13,000 Patient Care Technical Workers have voted to authorize a sympathy strike with 96% support.
Both units are represented by AFSCME Local 3299, which has been working to secure a contract for UC Service workers—the lowest paid career employees in the UC system–for well over a year. Dates and duration of the strike will be determined by AFSCME 3299’s Bargaining Team, which is comprised of Service and Patient Care workers elected by the membership.
“Our members seek a fair settlement, and this vote makes it clear that UC’s final offer fails to meet that standard,” said UC Service Worker and AFSCME 3299 Bargaining Team Member Jose Mendez. “The ball is now in UC’s court. We hope they will change course and finally choose to work towards an agreement that addresses our core issues and honors our contributions to the university. If not, our members are prepared to strike.”
AFSCME 3299 has already conceded to UC on over 75% of the contract articles up for negotiation—as well as UC’s top priority of pension reform.
With 99% of UC Service workers income eligible for some form of public assistance and workplace injuries skyrocketing more than 20% over the last five years, the remaining sticking points are wage increases and staffing levels. This includes UC’s increasing replacement of career positions with temporary workers and inexperienced, low-wage sub-contractors. UC’s current position on the latter conflicts with the standards that both CSU and the California Community College system are required by law to follow.
In recent days, numerous elected officials, as well as UC Faculty, lecturers, Doctors, healthcare workers, students, police officers, clerical employees and even two sitting UC Regents have publicly voiced solidarity with AFSCME 3299 and called on the University to offer its membership a fair contract settlement.
“After years of giving huge salaries to executives, it is time for the UC to show its lowest paid workers that they are a valued part of the UC family,” tweeted UC Regent and California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom.
“AFSCME has and will continue to bargain in good faith, but we will not negotiate against ourselves,” said AFSCME 3299 Bargaining Team Member and Patient Care Technical Worker Tim Thrush. “If UC is willing to make progress, we are willing to work around the clock to reach a settlement. But make no mistake, the decision to avert a strike lies solely with UC.”