UC System and Its Largest Labor Union Reach Tentative Contracts

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Woman at UC San Diego AFSCME strike delivering a speech with various people behind her holding up signs on November 13, 2019
Arlene Banuelos / The Triton

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The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 (AFSCME 3299), the UC system’s largest labor union representing 8,000 service workers and 19,000 patient care workers, reached a tentative contract agreement Monday night with the UC covering its patient care workers. This announcement comes after AFSCME 3299 reached a tentative agreement covering its service workers last Wednesday.

The proposed contracts would end three years of negotiations with the UC system and limit the outsourcing of union-represented jobs to private contractors. AFSCME 3299’s demands led to six different strikes over three years. Union members also pressured politicians and commencement speakers to boycott UC events. On the national stage, the Democratic Party relocated a presidential debate originally scheduled at UCLA due to union pressures.

According to the AFSCME 3299, these tentative agreements include increased wages, protections against outsourcing, and caps on healthcare premiums. 

In a press statement, AFSCME 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger said, “This tentative agreement takes historic, enforceable steps to strengthen middle-class career pathways at [the University of California], and to combat the outsourcing abuses that have only served to depress wages, erode benefits and increase inequality.”

Both patient workers and service workers can expect 5% annual wage increases, 3% across the board and 2% based on employment position, until 2024. Furthermore, the patient care workers’ agreement includes a 6% pay increase across the board that goes into effect upon ratification.

Upon ratification, service workers will receive a prorated $2,500 payment followed by $1,500 payment in 2021 both based on their status as employees in 2019. The patient care worker agreement will pay out $4,000 if ratified. Both agreement will pay out a $1,000 longevity to workers who have served for at least 20 years.

According to AFSCME 3299, both agreements are reported to maintain pension benefits with no cap and retirement age at 60 with no option for a 401K out-opt. Additionally, both agreements limit monthly healthcare premium increases to $10 per year.

AFSCME 3299 has advertised that both agreements include “free speech” protections but has not shared the specifics about the protections.

AFSCME service workers will finish voting to approve the agreement today, while patient care workers will vote on their agreement on February 4 and 6. If ratified, the service worker contract will remain in effect until October 31, 2024 and the patient care worker contract will remain in effect until July 31, 2024.

Camille Lemesoff is a Staff Writer for The Triton.