FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 17, 2013
CONTACT: Todd Stenhouse, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Oakland: The University of California has reached tentative contract agreements with its 12,000 Registered Nurses, represented by the California Nurses Association.
The agreement includes substantial wage increases, protects vacation and sick time benefits, preserves retiree health benefits for current workers, and requires employees to contribute more into their pensions.
In response, AFSCME 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger has released the following statement:
“We congratulate our colleagues in the California Nurses Association on reaching a fair contract agreement with the University of California. It is indeed heartening to see UC finally matching CNA’s good faith efforts to reach compromises that are both financially sustainable and honor the Nurses invaluable contributions to UC Hospitals and Health Clinics. We would hope that UC will afford other bargaining units—including the service workers and patient care technical workers represented by AFSCME 3299—a similar spirit of dignity and respect as our contract negotiations continue.”
AFSCME 3299 and the University have been in contract negotiations for over 18 months. Since talks first broke down in the spring, AFSCME 3299 has made substantial movement on the 40 issues that were outstanding in an effort to win concessions on safe staffing, which remains its top priority. AFSCME’s efforts at compromise with UC have included:
- Withdrawing its proposals on half (19) of all unsettled Contract Articles—deferring to UC’s position on everything from professional development to discipline procedures.
- Offering higher employee pension contributions, a higher retirement age, and reduced retiree health benefits, similar to UC’s proposal.
- Reducing its proposal on wages by 33%.
By comparison, UC has failed to offer AFSCME any substantive proposals on safe staffing, nor any proposals on wages that are commensurate with what it has given to other UC employees. Instead, UC unilaterally imposed contract terms on both of AFSCME 3299’s bargaining units over the summer–including a pay cut for UC service workers, 99% of which are already income eligible for some form of public assistance.
“With worksite injuries amongst service workers up 20% in the last four years, and UC Hospitals facing a growing avalanche of fines and deficiency reports from state and federal patient safety watchdogs, UC’s continued tone-deafness on our safe staffing proposals is hard to understand,” added Lybarger. “We have moved well over halfway on every single one of UC’s priorities, but until UC decides to make safety a priority, there’s only so far we can go. AFSCME 3299 cannot, in good conscience, compromise the safety of our members, or the patients and students we serve.”