Patient care technical workers at UC San Diego are expected to begin a three-day strike Tuesday, part of a larger strike at 10 different UC campuses that organizers say is spurred by the universities outsourcing jobs to contract companies.
The employees, who are represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, argue that they have continuously discussed the issue during negotiations with the UC system, but to no avail. According to AFSCME Local 3299, which represents the workers, UC imposed employment terms on workers, raised healthcare premiums and lifted the retirement age instead of curtailing its outsourcing practices.
“We’ve bargained in good faith for over a year to address outsourcing at UC because it creates unequal and insecure circumstances that workers must struggle with every day,” said AFSCME Local 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger. “Instead of joining us in an effort to arrest these alarming trends, UC has insisted on deepening them — leaving workers no option but to strike.”
The strike comes roughly five months after more than 53,000 service workers across the UC system picketed for three days in May. According to UC officials, the system’s friction with AFSCME can be traced to workers being too ambitious in their requests for an annual wage increase of 8 percent.
More than 15,000 workers at 17 picket locations are expected to strike, according to AFSCME Local 3299, including at UC San Diego’s main campus and its Hillcrest and La Jolla medical centers. Other pickets include the UCLA, UC Irvine, UC Davis and UCSF medical centers.
“All UC San Diego Health hospitals and clinics will remain open and fully functional. All scheduled surgeries and procedures are expected to proceed,” UC San Diego Health said in a statement. “UC San Diego Health’s first priority, now and always, is to provide our patients with safe, high- quality medical and surgical care. We serve many of the region’s sickest and most fragile patients. Any patients who may be affected by the strike will be contacted by our patient care teams.”
— City News Service
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