Over 12,000 members of AFSCME 3299, patient care technical workers, participated in a planned two-day strike of UC Medical Centers due to conflicts regarding the union contract with the University of California. We urge the UC and the union to return to the bargaining table and reach a compromise that is financially responsible and respects both patients and the people that take care of them.
For nearly a year, there have been negotiations over a new labor contract between UC officials and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299. UC officials believe that the new plan regarding pensions is fair, with more than a dozen other units having agreed to the changes. The union disagrees, saying that the medical centers have unsafe staffing and that officials are more concerned with salaries than fair benefits.
The union proposed a different plan that doesn’t cut new employee long-term benefits among many other compromises, but the UC rejected it.
From 4 a.m. on May 21 to 4 a.m. on May 23, AFSCME 3299 went on strike at the five centers in Sacramento, Los Angeles, Irvine, San Francisco and San Diego. UPTE (University Professional and Technical Employees) sent 3,400 more workers to participate in a one-day sympathy strike.
The Sacramento County Superior Court has already ruled that about 450 employees cannot participate in the walkout, and the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center has already hired 400 temporary workers to cover the shifts of those striking. UC officials have prepared for the strike by canceling elective surgeries and chemotherapy treatments.
This situation should not have escalated this far. It’s time for the UC to start compromising.