U of California hospital workers walk off the job

University of California workers went on strike May 16 at the school's 10 campuses and five medical centers to protest job outsourcing.

The strike involves university professional and technical employees represented by the UPTE-CWA 9119, as well as members of AFSCME Local 3299, which represents the university's service and patient care technical workers. 

It is union members' fifth strike in more than a year, and it is focused on their concerns about outsourcing, according to The Sacramento Bee

In a media advisory about the walkout, the AFSCME claims that UC has acted illegally with its privatization plans that allow jobs to be outsourced to contracting companies.

"The University of California has bypassed its workers at every turn, refusing to meet and confer about plans to outsource middle-class jobs in California to poverty wage contractors," said AFSCME Local 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger. "By cutting workers out of decisions about who will be providing the services that UC patients and students rely on, it’s clear that UC is focused on one thing — paying its lowest wage workers even less."

For instance, union leaders contend UC administrators won't bargain over plans to outsource ongoing work at a joint venture: a new rehabilitaiton hospital in Sacramento, Calif., that the school will own and operate with Kindred Healthcare, a Louisville, Ky.-based private equity company.

UC spokesperson Claire Doan expressed disappointment about the strike and stated that AFSCME’s service-contract contract claims lack merit.

"Despite union leaders' claims about fairness, AFSCME is demanding nearly triple the raises the university has given to other employees. Their push for an 8 percent annual wage increase would cost this taxpayer-funded university hundreds of millions of dollars over the life of the contract, beyond the significant amount UC has already offered in raises," she said in a statement to Becker's.

Ms. Doan also called union leaders' claims "a red herring," saying that union members are striking to gain leverage in negotiations.  

She noted, "UC's agreements with AFSCME explicitly bar the university from contracting out solely to save on wages and benefits. Furthermore, UC cannot terminate an employee due to a sub-contracting decision."

 

More articles on human capital and risk:

ER nurses allowed to combine rest breaks, US labor board rules
Hospitals and unions: 8 recent conflicts, agreements
Kaiser Permanente agrees not to outsource Northern California landscaping

 

 

 

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