UC San Diego medical staffers strike, defying judge

by on July 14, 2008 · 0 comments

in Labor

SEE below for info from AFSCME about the strike.

July 14, 2008

SAN DIEGO – About 600 union workers at UCSD medical and campus facilities went on strike Monday in a job action expected to last as long as five days.

Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) walked off their jobs Monday in San Diego, Los Angeles, Irvine, Riverside and other cities across the state. Combined, the union represents about 8,500 employees within the University of California system. A union spokesman said the 600 service workers on strike in San Diego County include custodians and food-preparation workers at hospital or university facilities.

Hospital officials said patient care was not compromised when service workers at the Sand Diego County facilities went on strike on the first day of what could be a five-day work stoppage.

The custodians, landscapers and food service workers who began picketing UCSD Medical Center, Thornton Hospital and the UC San Diego campus are members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The union represents some 2,000 workers at UC facilities in San Diego County.

A striking workers told KGTV that it’s getting harder to make ends meet in San Diego because of higher prices for gasoline and milk.
“I just want to get living wages,” said the woman, whose name was not given. The AFL-CIO affiliate and the UC system have been at an impasse over wage levels since April.

Leslie Franz of the UCSD Medical Center said that some union members reported for work, and positions lost to strikers have been covered. Members of other unions did not honor the picket line, she said. “We’re very appreciative that our workforce and employees are really dedicated to patient care,” Franz said.

A judge in San Francisco said Friday the threatened walkout would irreparably harm UC patients, faculty and students, and banned the strike until the union gave adequate notice. But union leaders said that serving formal notice of the strike last Thursday fulfilled that requirement.

Officials at the university system said last week that patients at 15 UC medical centers and hospitals across the state will be endangered if the strike takes place, arguing it should be banned because, they say, the union has not bargained in good faith. “Our proposals are fair and responsive to many of the union’s expressed concerns, and our employees deserve to have these negotiations resolved,” UC labor relations executive director Howard Pripas said in a statement Friday.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called for the union to end the walkout. “While there may be legitimate issues to be resolved, it is unacceptable to use the welfare of innocent people as a bargaining chip. I support the court’s action to restrain any unauthorized job action.”

AFSCME officials said their members are paid “poverty-level” wages -as low as $10 an hour.

UC officials said they offered a 26 percent pay raise over five years to patient-care employees and raises of about $1.75 to $2 per hour for service employees, depending on the cost of living at each location. The system is also offering enrollment in the same health care and pension systems offered all other UC employees.

But the union claims UC wages are dramatically below those paid to community college workers in the state. It says 96 percent of its membership is eligible for food stamps, subsidized housing or other welfare-type assistance despite full-time employment.


AFSCME 3299 Service Workers Prepare for 5-Day Strike & NEED YOUR SUPPORT!

Why Are AFSCME Service Workers Striking July 14th- 18th?

After more than 11 months of negotiations, AFSCME service workers have called for a 5-day strike to in order to get a fair contract at the University. UC is refusing to guarantee any raise at all for most service workers and negotiations have been deadlocked since May. Service workers have been fighting for better lives for their families and better working conditions. The University has Unfair Labor Practices- but we know their actions are illegal, and we won’t be intimidated!
AFSCME service workers are fighting to be treated like their peers who are doing the same jobs at other hospitals and community colleges across California. We are demanding:

  • Longevity Steps at Market Rate
  • UC Statewide minimum wage to end poverty wages
  • Guaranteed employee costs and coverage of benefits
  • OT pay improvements; Caps on parking increases
  • Protections for good, represented, career jobs at UC

This Strike Impacts All Workers At UC.

Standing together, we are always stronger. If UC can force a weak agreement on one group of workers, they will try to push that agenda even harder on other groups. UC can agree to fair contracts for all UC workers, but we must make it a priority for them to do so!
Who are “AFSCME Service Workers”?

Custodians, Food Service Workers, Cooks, Groundskeepers, Bus Drivers, Building Maintenance Workers, Parking Representatives, and Security Guards.

Contact AFSCME 3299: 619-296-0342 – www.afscme3299.org

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