- Reporters Desk
Oakland — With negotiations over wages and staffing at a stalemate, the 8300 University of California Service Workers represented by AFSCME 3299—the lowest paid workers at UC — have given 10-day notice that they will strike March 3 to 7.
The 13,000 Patient Care Technical Workers represented by AFSCME 3299 have announced that they will strike in sympathy with service workers.
Both units voted 96 percent in support of a strike during a three-day vote this past week.
About 99 percent of UC Service workers are income eligible for some form of public assistance, with some full time workers forced to live in their cars. According to OSHA, workplace injury rates amongst UC Service workers have skyrocketed by more than 20 percent throughout the past five years. And UC is increasingly replacing these career employees with inexperienced outside contractors who are paid rock-bottom wages with no benefits.
While AFSCME 3299 has conceded to UC on more than 75 percent of the issues up for negotiation, as well as its top priority of pension reform, UC has singled out its service unit for especially harsh treatment throughout the past year—including unilateral implementation of terms that amounted to pay cuts this past September.
UC’s final contract offer still leaves 95 percent UC Service workers income eligible for some form public assistance, does not address the workload issues that are contributing to rising injury rates, and refuses to accept the same standards on contracting out that are required of California State University, California’s Community Colleges, or other state agencies.
Within the past two weeks, numerous State Elected Officials, a pair of UC Regents (including California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom), UC Faculty, UC Students and a half dozen unions representing other UC workers have released statements of support for AFSCME represented Service Workers.
UC Service Workers include custodial, groundskeeping, facilities maintenance, dietary and food service staff at the University of California Campuses Medical Centers, and Research Laboratories.