University of California workers go on strike

Thousands of University of California hospital workers began a three-day strike at UC medical centers Oct. 23 amid contract negotiations, The Mercury News reported.

Striking employees include members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 and University Professional and Technical Employees-Communications Workers of America. Thousands of patient care workers, such as nurse aides and respiratory therapists, are reportedly involved in the walkout. They were joined in solidarity by UC service workers represented by AFSCME, as well as professional healthcare, research and technical workers represented by UPTE-CWA .

Workers struck at campuses including UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, UC Berkeley, UCSF Medical Center Parnassus campus in San Francisco, UC Irvine, UCLA in Los Angeles and UC San Diego.

AFSCME members, who also went on strike in May, said they are protesting job outsourcing and what they see as increasing income, racial and gender disparities within UC's workforce. They also claim the university circumvented the negotiating process and imposed employment terms on patient care workers.

UC spokesperson Claire Doan disputed the assertions, telling Becker's union leaders "are spreading false information," as the number of AFCSCME patient care employees has climbed 18.9 percent and the number of AFSCME service employees has increased by 14.4 percent. 

Emergency rooms at UCSF's Parnassus and Mission Bay facilities remain open as employees strike, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report, although some outpatient clinics at UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion won't operate at full capacity.

The university told the San Francisco Chronicle temporary replacement workers were brought in during the strike, and about 4,200 nonurgent appointments, 241 surgeries and 172 chemotherapy and other infusion treatments were rescheduled at several UCSF medical centers.


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