The union and university reached a bargaining impasse a year ago, and subsequent mediation efforts have failed to produce an agreement over wage increases, health care premiums and retirement terms. It also found wide gaps in gender and racial disparity in management, as well as wage, gender, and racial disparities among workers represented by AFSCME 3299. The workers span UC's 10 campuses, five medical centers, numerous clinics and research laboratories.
According to the union, the strike will involve 9,000 service workers, but they will be joined by more than 15,000 Patient Care Technical workers.
To express solidarity with our sisters and brothers of AFSCME 3299, tag them in social media posts and use these hashtags: #3299Strong, #inequality, #UCUnionsUnited, #solidarity. These workers have been in contract negotiations with UC representatives for more than a year with no agreement.
The university offered workers an annual increase of 3 percent over four years and an annual cap of $25 for any monthly premium increase, said UC spokeswoman Claire Doan. The statement said the three-day planned walkouts will be a disruption for students on campus, many of whom have final exams scheduled for this week.
In light of the impasse, the university system last month imposed contract terms on the union for the 2017-18 fiscal year, including 2 percent pay increases.
The UC insisted that its service workers - including custodians, gardeners, food service workers and facilities maintenance staff - are compensated at or above the market rate, "and in some cases, by as much as 17 percent higher than comparable jobs".
A statement from UC said in part that "AFSCME leaders are demanding a almost 20 percent pay raise over three years - twice what other UC employees have received".
Local 3299 leaders said that when its members go on strike from May 7 through May 9 they will be organizing a patient protection task force that is prepared to respond to requests for emergency patient care assistance from striking workers if UC's strike contingency measures break down. A proposal to raise the retirement age to 65 to qualify for full benefits would apply only to new employees who choose a pension instead of a 401 (k) plan, she said. The workers on strike include pharmacy technicians, respiratory therapists, patient care assistants, custodians and security workers.