- Reporters Desk
OAKLAND — On March 4, the University of California’s largest union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees 3299, announced that its 13,000 Patient Care Technical Workers will vote on whether to authorize an Unfair Labor Practice Strike on March 12 and 13.
The Unfair Labor Practice stems from repeated efforts by UC to illegally subvert the collective bargaining process throughout the past year—including its imposition of contract terms on Patient Care workers this past July, unilateral changes to employee health benefits and most recently, regressive bargaining in the form of a new demand for sweeping new layoff powers after more than 18 months of negotiations with Patient Care Technical workers.
UC never mentioned its desire for new “emergency” layoff powers until 18 months into the bargaining process. Its new demands would enable hospital administrators to make unlimited layoffs, depending on patient census. Because Patient Care Technical Workers do not have mandated staffing ratios, like nurses, such powers could potentially leave facilities short-staffed and patients vulnerable in the event of medical emergencies.
If authorized, this would be the second Unfair Labor Practice strike by AFSCME 3299 represented Patient Care Technical Workers in the past six months. The first, back on November 20, 2013, was in response to a well documented campaign of illegal coercion and intimidation by UC administrators against Patient Care workers who had voiced concerns on issues of patient safety at UC hospitals back in May. That matter is still pending before the State’s Public Employment Relations Board.