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California | Central Valley | San Francisco | Education & Student Activism | Health, Housing, and Public Services
UC Patient Care Workers Authorize Five Day Strike, March 24-28
Oakland: The University of California’s 13,000 Patient Care Technical Workers, represented by AFSCME 3299, have voted 97% in support of authorizing an Unfair Labor Practice Strike, and have informed the University of their intent to strike March 24th-28th.
The strike stems from growing incidents of illegal, bad faith bargaining by university administrators. This includes unilateral implementation of contract terms and benefit cuts, and the university’s 11th hour demands for sweeping new layoff powers, which could leave UC Health facilities short-staffed and patients vulnerable in the event of medical emergencies.
AFSCME 3299 has filed Unfair Labor Practice charges detailing each of the violations with the Public Employment Relations Board.
Read the charges here, here and here, and the strike notice letter here.
“By repeatedly and illegally subverting the collective bargaining process, UC has created unnecessary conflict and sabotaged our good faith efforts to improve patient care at UC Hospitals,” said UCSF MRI Technologist and AFSCME 3299 ULP Committee member Randall Johnson. “The frontline workers we represent know that if left unchallenged, UC’s serial lawbreaking will ultimately endanger the patients we serve. And we are not going to let that happen.”
Though UC has repeatedly suggested that financial constraints are contributing to its collective bargaining practices , UC Hospitals netted over $632 million in operating profit last year.  Since 2009, Annual Hospital Administration payroll costs at UC have swelled by more than $100 million, equivalent to an increase of 38 percent. 
Two UC Hospital CEOs (Mark Laret of UCSF, and Ann Madden Rice of UC Davis) just made the Becker's Hospital Review list of CEOs of the top 25 highest grossing “non-profit” Hospitals , each receiving more than a million dollars in compensation. Laret’s arrangement, in particular, includes six figure cash bonuses tied to profit goals. 
“It increasingly appears that UC is willing to break the law and endanger patients in the pursuit of profit and financial rewards for its highest paid executives,” said UCLA Clinical Care Partner and AFSCME 3299 ULP Committee Member Monica Martinez. “This would be unacceptable for any hospital—but it is especially deplorable when it comes from a non-profit, public health delivery system that is subsidized by California taxpayers.”
This is 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.
The March 24-28 strike will impact all five UC Medical Centers—Davis, San Francisco, Irvine, Los Angeles, and San Diego. As was the case with previous hospital strikes, AFSCME 3299 has voluntarily exempted 49 patient care technical workers from participating in the strike—Respiratory Therapists in the PICU, NICU and Burn Units, as well as several Hemodialysis Technicians. It will be forming a Patient Protection Task Force to handle any emergent medical needs that could arise during the strike.
 Patrick J. Lenz, "UC's fiscal reality misstated," The Sacramento Bee, December 15, 2013 http://www.sacbee.com/2013/12/15/5997256/another-view-ucs-fiscal-reality.html; Kristen Taketa, "UC union workers to hold strike on Nov. 20," The Daily Bruin, November 8, 2013, http://dailybruin.com/2013/11/08/uc-union-workers-to-hold-strike-on-nov-20/; Editorial, "UC can't gripe about cuts while padding pay," The Sacramento Bee, August 7, 2013, http://www.sacbee.com/2013/08/07/5629077/uc-cant-gripe-about-cuts-while.html; Rebecca Bowe, "Care Clash," The San Francisco Bay Guardian, April 25, 2013, http://www.sfbg.com/2013/04/23/care-clash
 University of California, Medical Centers Report, 2012-13, page 29, http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/nov13/a4attach5.pdf
 UC Office of the President, Corporate Personnel System Data, May 2009 and May 2012 for Senior Management Group (SMG) and Management & Senior Professional (MSP) classifications by Full Time Equivalency. Annual costs were estimated from Gross Year-to-Date values from May of each year.
 Bob Herman, "CEO Compensation of the 25 Top-Grossing Nonprofit Hospitals," Becker's Hospital Review, March 11, 2014, http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/compensation-issues/ceo-compensation-of-the-25-top-grossing-nonprofit-hospitals-2014.html
 UC Medical Center CEOs get an annual bonus -- the Clinical Enterprise Management Recognition Plan Award -- which is at a target rate of 20% of their base pay. For Mark Laret, this amounts to $187,000. In addition, He receives a "retention bonus" over and above the CEMRP award. In 2013, he received a $300,000 "retention bonus" contingent on a positive cash flow at UCSF. In 2014, he expects to pocket $400,000. UC Regents of the University of California, Committee on Compensation, July 14, 2011. http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/minutes/2011/comp7.pdf
March 14, 2014
Ratification vote scheduled for March 26th and 27th!