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April 30, 2013 > UC Patient Care workers announce strike vote

UC Patient Care workers announce strike vote

Submitted By Todd Stenhouse

Having negotiated for ten months, including more than three months of post-impasse proceedings, AFSCME 3299 has announced that 13,000 Patient Care Technical workers within the University of California's $6.9 billion Medical System will be holding a strike vote April 30 - May 2.

"For almost a year, we've bargained in good faith and worked to secure a contract that puts patient safety first and honors the principle of basic fairness to the frontline care professionals at the foundation of the UC Medical System," said AFSCME 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger. "Instead of agreeing to these basic standards, UC Administrators are asking frontline care providers to subsidize chronic understaffing, growing management bloat and unprecedented executive excess at UC's taxpayer supported teaching hospitals. That's something we simply will not do."

The most recent agreement between UC and its UC Patient Care Technical workers expired on September 30, 2012. Both before and since then, negotiations and post-impasse mediation proceedings have failed to produce an agreement on more than a dozen major issues.

While receiving more than $300 million in state taxpayer support and banking hundreds of millions of dollars in profits each year, UC Medical Centers have offered their frontline care workers cuts in total compensation and rejected proposals to address increasingly unsafe staffing practices within UC hospitals. Meanwhile, UC Medical Facilities increased their executive payroll by $100 million since 2009, quadrupled their annual debt payment obligations since 2006, eliminated hundreds of frontline care jobs, dramatically increased outsourcing of critical patient care functions to less experienced workers, and refused to cap the golden handshake pensions of top executives.

"Patient care professionals, California taxpayers, and the millions of families who depend on us each year for care understand that there is a growing crisis of misguided priorities amongst top UC Administrators," said Tim Thrush, a principal Diagnostic Sonographer at UCSF Medical Center and an AFSCME 3299 Bargaining Team member. "We are prepared to fight for our patients and our families."

AFSCME 3299 represents more than 22,000 Service and Patient Care Technical workers at the University of California's 10 campuses and five medical centers.

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