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As UC Continues Bad Faith Bargaining with Patient Care Workers, ULP Strike Vote Scheduled
Oakland: The University of California’s largest union, AFSCME 3299, has announced that its 13,000 Patient Care Technical Workers will vote on whether to authorize an Unfair Labor Practice Strike on March 12th and 13th.
The ULP stems from repeated efforts by UC to illegally subvert the collective bargaining process over the last year—including its imposition of contract terms on Patient Care workers last July, unilateral changes to employee health benefits, and most recently, regressive bargaining in the form of a new demand for sweeping new layoff powers after more than 18 months of negotiations with Patient Care Technical workers.
“For months, we have been holding off on this ULP strike vote in the hopes that UC’s new President would put an end to this serial lawbreaking,” said AFSCME 3299 ULP Committee Member and Patient Care Worker Randall Johnson. “Instead, UC has doubled down, illegally introducing new bargaining demands at the 11th hour that would effectively force UC patients to play a game of Russian Roulette on staffing in order to boost hospital profits. It’s clear that if we don’t stand up to UC’s unlawful conduct now, it will only get worse.”
UC never mentioned its desire for new “emergency” layoff powers until 18 months into the bargaining process. Its new demands would enable hospital administrators to make unlimited layoffs, depending on patient census. Because Patient Care Technical Workers do not have mandated staffing ratios, like nurses, such powers could potentially leave facilities short-staffed and patients vulnerable in the event of medical emergencies.
“UC’s bad faith approach to collective bargaining isn’t just a threat to our members—but to the colleagues, patients and students who depend on us every day,” added AFSCME 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger. “This ULP Strike vote will send an unmistakable message--if UC wants labor peace, they must stop moving the goalposts and stop breaking the law.”
If authorized, this would be the second ULP strike by AFSCME 3299 represented Patient Care Technical Workers in the last six months. The first, back on November 20, 2013, was in response to a well documented campaign of illegal coercion and intimidation by UC Administrators against Patient Care workers who had voiced concerns on issues of patient safety at UC Hospitals back in May. That matter is still pending before the State’s Public Employment Relations Board.