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UC Broke the Law on Unilateral Contract Implementation, Benefit Changes, and Demand for New Layoff Powers

Oakland: As 13,000 UC Patient Care Technical Workers prepare to begin a week long Unfair Labor Practice Strike next Monday, the State’s Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) last night issued multiple complaints against the University for illegal bad faith bargaining.

Specifically, the PERB complaint includes the fact that UC “failed to meet and confer in good faith,” “interfered with the rights of bargaining unit employees,” and “interfered with (AFSCME 3299’s) right to represent bargaining unit employees,” by unilaterally imposing contract terms and health benefit changes, and making 11th hour demands for sweeping new layoff powers—also known as “regressive bargaining.

Read the PERB Complaints Here and Here.

“In issuing these complaints, the PERB has affirmed what we have long known to be true—that the University of California has repeatedly broken the law, attempted to subvert the rights of its hospital workers and put the patients they serve at risk,” said AFSCME 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger. “Lawbreaking of any kind is unacceptable. Lawbreaking in a healthcare delivery environment is downright dangerous, and if we don’t stand up to it now, we are only inviting tragedy down the road. We will not allow the University of California to become a haven for lawlessness.”

Last week, AFSCME 3299 represented Patient Care Technical Workers voted 97% in support of authorizing an Unfair Labor Practice Strike at UC Medical Centers, which has been scheduled for March 24th-28th. As was the case with previous hospital strikes, AFSCME 3299 has voluntarily exempted 49 Patient Care Technical Workers from participating in the strike—Respiratory Therapists in the PICU, NICU and Burn Units, as well as several Hemodialysis Technicians. It will be forming a Patient Protection Task Force to handle emergent medical needs that could arise during the strike.

In a finding issued today, PERB has once again affirmed AFSCME 3299’s patient protection plan, and agreed with AFSCME 3299’s offer to voluntarily enjoin 49 workers from strike activity.  In doing so, PERB denied UC’s request to enjoin additional workers.  Read PERB’s finding here.

This is the second ULP strike by AFSCME 3299 represented Patient Care Technical Workers—in response to lawbreaking by University of California Administrators–in the last six months. The first, back on November 20, 2013, was in response to a well documented campaign of illegal coercion and intimidation by UC Administrators against Patient Care workers who had voiced concerns on issues of patient safety at UC Hospitals back in May. PERB also issued a formal complaint against UC in that matter, with resolution still pending.