University of California workers picket for new contract at hospital campuses statewide

Unionized University of California employees picketed Thursday outside UC San Diego Health's main hospitals in La Jolla and Hillcrest, and at various other UC locations throughout the state, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The picketers, which included service employees such as cafeteria workers and custodians, are represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 3299. Union employees said they want a new labor deal and staffing levels more reflective of their workloads, according to the report.

"UCSD tends to get the sickest patients in San Diego County — so we have sicker patients and have less time with our patients, which directly affects our patient care and our ability to provide proper care. So we are fighting for that," Isaac Zamora, a respiratory therapist, said, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

UC said in a statement it has proposed "fair wage increases, quality health benefits, excellent retirement benefits and additional professional development opportunities" as part of contract negotiations.

"UC has bargained in good faith since spring for service workers and since fall for patient care employees," the university concluded in its statement. "We hope the next steps, including a fact-finding phase and assistance from an objective third-party in negotiations for our service staff, will encourage AFSCME to come forward with realistic proposals that lead to an agreement."

The university also said UC's pay for service and patient care employees "are currently at or above market." Union spokesperson John de Los Angeles took issue with this assertion in the report.



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