The American Federation of County, State, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3299, the union representing UC system patient care and service workers, has voted to authorize a strike for the second time this year.
The voting occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. According to City on a Hill Press, it resulted in a 96-percent approval rate from AFSCME members.
The move to strike came in response to a breakdown in contract negotiations where the UC Office of the President (UCOP) cancelled on a previously agreed upon bargaining meeting with AFSCME members at UC Davis Medical Center. AFSCME is asking for an end to outsourced labor, a six-percent wage increase for their workers each year for the next four years, and a better retirement plan.
“AFSCME leaders are putting their agenda above the needs of patients, students, employees, and the public by calling for yet another strike,” said UCOP Director of Media Relations Claire Doan in response to the strike results. “Rather than engage in constructive talks at the negotiating table, AFSCME leaders are using the threat of a strike as a scare tactic.”
The first strike was a three-day event in May, in which 53,000 AFSCME members protested against both the UC system’s outsourcing practices and increasing income, gender, and racial disparities. At UC San Diego, the first strike coincided with limited dining hall operations and Housing Dining Hospitality (HDH) outsourcing of housing maintenance workers.
According to AFSCME Local 3299 Communications Director John de Los Angeles, a date for the second strike has not been set and will be determined by the AFSCME Elected Bargaining Team. When a date is set, a required ten-day notice will be issued to UCOP.
De los Angeles also stated that the California Nurses Association (CNA) will not be participating in this strike as they have already settled their contract. The University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE) held a vote on whether to strike in solidarity with AFSCME 3299; however, the results are currently unknown.
“UC has presented several proposals and none of them have talked about outsourcing. What good are the other benefits if we may not have a job tomorrow because of the practice?” said de los Angeles to The Triton. “The University is making this about wages, but this is about job security.”
Matthew Rom-Toribio is an Assistant News Editor at The Triton. You can follow him @MT2o.