According to a press release from Friday, Oct. 12, “AFSCME Local 3299, announced … that the University’s Patient Care Technical workers will be staging a 3-day walkout from Oct. 23-25 at all UC Medical Centers.” Contract negotiations between the UC and its patient care unit remain at an impasse, having exceeded the December 2017 deadline. On top of this, AFSCME and UPTE also accused the UC of bypassing collective bargaining procedure by imposing terms on the patient care unit.

A letter from the Vice President of UC systemwide human resources Dwaine B. Duckett released Monday, Oct. 1 states that, “UC is increasing your wages and providing you and your patient care technical colleagues with good health and retirement benefits.”

This letter comes days after AFSCME announced a vote on whether to strike in lieu of reaching a bargaining agreement. A press release from the union quotes AFSCME Local 3299 Patient Care Technical Unit Vice President Monica De Leon as saying, “… the University of California’s decision to once again subvert the collective bargaining process is disappointing … On the one hand, UC is forcing provisions on workers that would raise healthcare premiums, lift the retirement age, flatten employee wages, and accelerate the outsourcing of jobs for thousands of frontline workers.”

The letter from UC did not address the issue of outsourcing, which is a major area of concern for the union. According to De Leon, who is quoted in the Oct. 12 press release, “The University of California has continuously ignored workers’ concerns over the outsourcing of good middle-class jobs and the inequality and insecurity that it creates for the hardworking people that run UC every day.”

In an email to the Highlander, the UC Office of the President (UCOP) spokesperson Danielle Smith stated, “For the second time in five months, AFSCME leaders are putting their agenda above the needs of patients, students, employees and the public by calling for yet another strike.” The office did not address the issue of outsourcing, one of the primary concerns of the union.

Concerning the implications for UC’s operation, UCOP commented that, “The university’s priority is serving its communities, patients and students. We will do everything possible to limit the negative impact of a strike — and AFSCME leaders’ predictable theatrics — on our campuses and medical centers.”

The AFSCME-represented Patient Care Technical Unit workers voted to authorize the strike during Oct. 23 to 25, and nearly 10,000 Service Unit workers will join the strike in solidarity. UPTE-CWA, which represents another 15,000 UC workers, also voted to join the strike in solidarity according to the press release.