AFSCME Labor Union to Strike Due to Violations of Worker Rights

Ethan Edward Coston / The Triton

The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3299 will strike on April 10, protesting violations of worker rights by the UC system. This is AFSCME’s fourth strike since May 2018.

AFSCME has been in contract negotiations with the UC system for two years. AFSCME filed a complaint with the Public Employee Relations Board in March alleging worker intimidation and attempts to prevent employees from striking.

AFSCME previously demonstrated in May 2018 and October 2018 over outsourcing and income gaps and the UC system’s failure to meet its contract bargaining demands. In March, AFSCME striked in solidarity with the University Professional and Technical Employees-Communications Workers of America 9119, another union in contract negotiations with the UC system.

“The University of California has already financed lavish executive salaries and multi-million-dollar secret slush funds off the backs of its lowest-paid workers by imposing terms that outsource jobs and make income inequality worse,” said AFSCME Local 2399 President Kathryn Lybarger. “Now, [the UC system] is resorting to intimidation tactics to silence the thousands of workers across California that have taken a stand against this behavior.”

One of the incidents cited in the complaint is from the October 2018 strike, where a manager at UC Davis allegedly physically assaulted strikers. At UC San Diego, a supervisor encouraged workers to “give themselves a raise” by opting out of AFSCME membership during a private meeting. Other charges against the UC system include rewarding strikers with free food to abandon the picket line.

Strikers will meet at the Gilman Parking Structure for the one-day strike. While no notable figures are scheduled to join the strike at UCSD, labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will attend at UC Davis and the California Secretary of State Alex Padilla will attend at UC San Francisco.

“[The University of California] has focused on reaching an agreement, while AFSCME is intent on staging strikes,” said UC Director of Media Relations Claire Doan. “We have offered numerous competitive proposals, all of which union leaders have rejected without allowing a member vote. Meanwhile, AFSCME leaders have not presented any substantive counteroffers since bargaining started in 2017.”

Ethan Edward Coston is the Incoming Managing Editor of The Triton. You can follow him @Ethan4Books.