Nurses To Picket Alongside Striking University Of California Workers
May 09 2018
Even with the walk-offs and those planned for tomorrow and Tuesday, medical center management declared it was open for business, all while workers picketed the Sacramento campus shouting slogans and carrying signs, clad in green shirts with the message "We run UC".
The strike will continue through Wednesday, with members of the California Nurses Association and University Professional and Technical Employees-CWA joining in a sympathy strike Tuesday and Wednesday. UC officials have repeatedly criticized the union for calling the strike, accusing it of rejecting an offer of "fair, multi-year wage increases and excellent medical and retirement benefits".
The union, which represents more than 24,000 workers at the UC's ten campuses and five medical centers, alleges that the inequities its members endure sharpen along racial and gender lines.
UC officials said they have made contingency plans to keep disruptions to a minimum.
Most classes starting before noon Monday were cancelled, and dining services were closed or limited, according to online updates posted by the UCSC Department of Public Affairs.
Hundreds of service workers marched in front of UC San Diego's two main medical centers Monday, but everyone, whether on a picket line or in an executive meeting room, said day one of this three-day strike was something of a dress rehearsal. The union spokesman said "workers are prepared to cross the picket line and respond to any emergency situation".
AFSCME and university administrators remained at a standstill in contract negotiations.
Unions representing medical employees in the University of California plan to hold a strike in solidarity with the UC's largest union this week.
University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union couldn't reach a contract agreement resulting in over 50,000 workers to protest throughout California.
UC spokeswoman Claire Doan said AFSCME service workers are already paid at or above market rates and that the union is demanding a almost 20 percent pay raise over three years. UC would sweeten the pot by reducing employees' retirement contribution from 9 percent to 7 percent.
The university said it has compensated its employees at or above the market but can not justify the 6 percent wage hike called for by the union.
On Friday, UCSD officials said they have rescheduled about 200 elective surgeries that were to be performed early this week. However, 97 percent of members voted to authorize a strike last month. The union sought a 6 percent increase.
Doan said the union is demanding pay raises that are twice as high as those given to other UC employees.
"While we value the contributions of all employees and respect their rights, we are committed to maintaining access to our hospitals and clinics", said Johnese Spisso, president of UCLA Health, and Dr. Kelsey Martin, dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, in the statement.