“UC didn’t move at all on the core issues involved”: Service Workers Begin Strike Authorization Vote

About 8,300 service workers at University of California campuses across the state began voting today on whether to authorize a strike over wages and staffing issues.

In addition, about 13,000 patient care workers at UC’s five medical centers are voting on whether to authorize a sympathy strike if the service workers go on strike, according to Todd Stenhouse, a spokesman for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, which represents both groups of employees.

The voting by the service workers, including custodians, gardeners, and environmental services and facilities workers, will continue through Thursday and the results won’t be tabulated until late this week or early next week, Stenhouse said.

UC has been negotiating with both employee groups for more than a year and both groups engaged in a two-day strike last May and a one-day strike last November.

Stenhouse said negotiators for service workers and the university made progress in a marathon bargaining session over the weekend but “we’re still not at a point of agreement.”

He alleged that, “UC didn’t move at all on the core issues involved in the negotiations until we announced our strike authorization vote.”

If the service workers authorize a strike, it will be up to their negotiating team to set the time and duration of a walkout, Stenhouse said. No date has been set at this point, he said.

The patient care technical workers who are voting on whether to authorize a sympathy strike today include radiation therapists who treat cancer patients, pharmacy technicians, respiratory therapists and technicians who operate equipment for ultrasound tests, X-rays, MRIs, CT scans and mammograms.

UC officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on the contract talks or the strike authorization vote.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

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