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STRIKE Results for 20,000 UC Workers Press Conference

Friday, May 23, 2008
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Event Type:
Location Details:
Baytree Plaza UC Santa Cruz

MEDIA ADVISORY for Friday, May 23rd, 2008
Allison Sirny-Guevara: 831-239-2898
Jane McDonald: 510-468-7113

STRIKE Vote Results for 20,000 University of California Workers

Tele-press Conference: 10am, DIAL IN # 1-866-295-5950, Participant code: 716184

Live Press Conference: 12 Noon, Baytree Bookstore 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, 95064 (near Student Union)

California – In a statewide tele-press conference followed by live press conferences in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz, UC patient care and service workers will announce the results of the statewide strike vote that took place between May 17th to May 22nd. Results will be tabulated at midnight on May 22nd. Should a majority vote yes, the strike would include 20,000 workers at UC's five hospital/ten campus system and could begin as soon as ten days later.

The 20,000 patient care and service workers include a wide variety of jobs including, but not limited to, medical technologists who take x-rays, mri's, and mammograms; respiratory therapists who operate breathing machines; medical assistants who clean wounds, bathe and turn patients to prevent infections and bed sores; cleaners who disinfect medical instruments and patient areas; custodians who clean the hospitals and campus dorms; and food service workers who provide cafeteria service to patients and students.

The central issue has been that wages have fallen dramatically behind other hospitals and California's community colleges where workers are paid an average of 25% higher for the same work. At UC, patient workers are concerned that lack of competitive pay is contributing to high-turnover, staffing shortages, and over-reliance on temps, compromising patient care as extra time is needed to train the constant flow of new staff. For service workers, wages are as low as $10 an hour, forcing many to work 2-3 jobs or rely on public assistance to meet their families basic needs.

In the midst of ongoing executive pay scandals, UC's administration is once again being denounced for misplaced priorities:

"No one wants to strike, but UC Executives are not prioritizing quality patient care and the ability to support our families, said Lakesha Harrison, Licensed Vocational Nurse & President of AFSCME 3299, "No one wants to get rich, we just want equal pay for equal work. UC is losing quality staff that we train to those other institutions that pay 25% higher."

State funds comprise only 8.6% of the funding for the 20,000 patient care and service workers. The majority of funding comes from the UC hospitals which posted profits of $371 million last year. According to CA State-appointed neutral Factfinder Carol Vendrillo, who independently evaluated the viability of a service workers' labor agreement, said, "U.C. has demonstrated the ability to increase compensation when it fits with certain priorities without any demonstrable link to a state funding source…It is time for UC to take a broader view of its priorities by honoring the important contribution that service workers make to the U.C. community and compensating them with wages that are in line with the competitive market rate."

The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3299, AFL-CIO represents 20,000 patient care and service workers at UC including licensed vocational nurses, medical techs and assistants, respiratory therapists, custodians, cafeteria workers, and security officers.
2201 Broadway Ave, Suite 315 Oakland, CA 94612, (510) 844-1160,

Added to the calendar on Thu, May 22, 2008 12:16PM
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