University of California patient care workers say they'll join March 20 strike

Thousands of University of California workers, including service and patient care technical employees, plan to strike on March 20, union officials announced.

The strike involves UPTE-CWA 9119 union, which represents 14,000 university  professional and technical employees, and the AFSCME Local 3299 union, which represents the university's service and patient care technical workers. The unions combined represent about 39,000 workers in the university system.

Union members have been in contract negotiations with the university since 2017.

"For nearly two years, UC has refused to recognize the value of its workers and has instead worked to worsen income inequality," Kathryn Lybarger, president of the AFSCME local, said in a news release. "Thousands of UC workers represented by UPTE-CWA recognize that the university's efforts to flatten wages, cut benefits and eliminate middle-class career pathways are hurting families, and our members are proud to strike with them in solidarity."

Claire Doan, director of media relations with the university's office of the president, expressed disappointment about the strike plans and called them "unfortunate."

"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," she told Becker's in a statement.

She added that the university is "disappointed with UPTE leadership" regarding demands for "unreasonable double-digit raises [16 percent to 22 percent over the proposed terms of the agreement] that are far beyond those given to other UC employees."

 

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