After 17 bargaining sessions with the UC since 2017, UPTE-CWA 9119 will strike

After 17 bargaining sessions with the UC since 2017, UPTE-CWA 9119 will strike

Photo Credits: DANIELLE MOFFAT / AGGIE

UPTE-CWA 9119 strike supported by AFSCME 3299, Bernie Sanders

University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE) CWA 9119, which represents over 13,000 UC employees, will hold a one-day strike on March 20. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 will strike in solidarity with UPTE-CWA 9119 employees on this day — just as UPTE-CWA 9119 workers joined AFSCME 3299’s strike last October and its strike last May.

UPTE-CWA 9119 employees will strike on all nine UC campuses and at the UC medical centers, including at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. A strike is planned to take place at UC Davis on March 20 at Orchard and La Rue Rd. At UCLA, 2020 presidential candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders will join UC employees at the picket line.

“I think Bernie’s campaign has inspired many of our members to stand up and fight for what they believe in,” said UPTE President Jamie McDole in a press release from AFSCME 3299. “When Bernie talks about ‘the top 1%,’ we’ve seen it right here at UC—more and more high-paid executives and administrators and suspect contracts with ties to the regents while workers get squeezed harder and harder and the students and patients suffer.”

Since bargaining began in May of 2017, UPTE-CWA 9119 has been unable to reach an agreement with the UC, although bargaining representatives from the union and the UC have met 17 times. At these meetings, UC employees voiced concerns about recruitment and retention challenges — UPTE-CWA 9119 has said that four out of five research/technical workers will leave the UC in less than five years due to “uncompetitive pay and lower overtime standards than in the private sector,” according to a press release from the union. Other concerns include a decrease in full-time career work and outside contracting — one of AFSCME 3299’s primary concerns as well.

“It’s unfortunate that AFSCME and UPTE leaders are choosing to strike for the third time in less than a year,” said Claire Doan, the director of media relations for the UC Office of the President via email. “The university feels the way to a deal is at the bargaining table – not on the picket lines – and should not come at the expense of patients, students, the university, and our communities.”
Doan said the UCOP is “disappointed” with UPTE leadership which, she said, is “demanding unreasonable double-digit raises” that are “16 to 22 percent over the proposed terms of the agreement” and “that are far beyond those given to other UC employees.”

Doan claimed the UC is “intent on making reasonable compromises to get a deal” while union leadership from UPTE-CWA 9119 and AFSCME 3299 “are not truly engaging in the bargaining process.”

The UC’s last, best and final offer “included wage increases that were less than half what UC agreed to in September of 2018 with nurses represented by the California Nurses Association,” according to the press release from UPTE-CWA 9119.

“It’s insulting for UC executives to continue to try to force us into accepting these
offers,” said David Carlos, an IT worker at UC San Diego, in the press release. “It shows a profound lack of commitment to the institution as a whole. Research and technology drive
UC’s greatness and the short-sighted attempt by UC executives to undermine and
outsource career work will be felt by students, patients, and the public at large.”

Written by: Hannah Holzer — campus@theaggie.org

1 Comment on this Post

  1. Ucfor Themany

    The reason UPTE is asking for double digit raises is because the pay for so many job titles has fallen below market level by DOUBLE DIGITS. For example, I am a Clinical Lab Scientist at a UCDMC , and our pay is 20-25% below what CLS make at Mercy, Sutter, and Kaiser in the Sacramento area. The STARTING wage at Mercy is more than what I currently make at UC with 10 years of experience. Why work at UC if you can go across town and make $10-12 more/hour? The kicker is that we train these CLS at the CLS Training Program, so UC can’t even retain the workers that we work so hard to train for the job. We cannot hire anyone because the pay is so low. As a result we are constantly short staffed, we are skipping breaks and lunches, being asked to work more and more OT on holidays and days off, and on call constantly and we are just barely keeping up. Turn around time increases, more mistakes are made because people are stressed and exhausted, and therefore the quality of patient care has suffered. In my 10 years here I have never seen working conditions so poor and morale so low. UC should be ashamed of themselves, for having the means to acquire and retain great employees but being too greedy and short sighted to actually do so.

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