More than 25,000 University of California service and patient care technical workers plan to stage a statewide unfair labor practices strike Nov. 13 to protest the school outsourcing jobs to lower-paid workers.
In an announcement released Friday, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 3299, which represents the employees, said the action will take place at all 10 UC campuses and at five medical centers.
Picket times and specific locations will be announced in the coming days, union representatives said.
Service workers range from security guards and cooks, to custodians and truck drivers, while patient care technical workers take in such jobs as nurse aids, respiratory therapists, radiology technologists and patient transporters.
Unfair labor practices
Friday’s notice follows six new unfair labor practices charges recently filed against the university over its alleged efforts to outsource jobs to lower-wage private contractors. The union claims UC has worked to secretly expand outsourcing by circumventing legal disclosure and bargaining requirements, as well as the university’s own competitive bidding and minimum wage policies.
Monica De Leon, a UC Irvine hospital unit service coordinator and member of AFSCME’s unfair labor practices committee, said the outsourcing is wrong on several levels.
“This is not just morally bankrupt, unfair and unsafe for the students and patients who depend on the work we do — it is illegal,” she said in a statement. “And we will not rest until this lawlessness stops.”
UC spokesman Andrew Gordon said the union has been difficult, if not impossible, to work with.
“Over the past two and a half years of negotiations, ASFCME leaders have not budged on their unreasonable wage demands,” Gordon said via email. “They have refused to hold a vote on any one of UC’s many fair proposals. And this strike notice does nothing to give employees the long-overdue agreement and raises they deserve.”
The university has settled contracts with the leaders of nine other unions “who worked in good faith” to resolve issues at the bargaining table, he said, adding that “our employees deserve the same from AFSCME leaders.”
Gordon said the number of AFSCME-represented employees has increased by double digits over the past five years. The number of service workers has grown 16.8 percent, he said, and the number of patient care workers has jumped 27.9 percent.
Spending on outsourcing
Union representatives said documents recently published by the state Legislature show UC has increased its spending on outsourcing of campus service and patient care jobs normally performed by university employees by 52% since 2016 — and by 84% at UC Medical Centers.
AFSCME also alleges UC’s outsourcing practices disproportionately target black women and other people of color.
As direct employees, their starting wages are already as much as 23% less than white men doing similar jobs, the union said, and as outsourced workers, they are paid as much as 53% less than regular UC employees.
More than 25,000 University of California employees prepare to strike Nov. 13