UC’s Patient Care Technical Workers To Vote To Authorize Strike

Patient care technical workers at University of California healthcare facilities will vote on whether to authorize a strike this week, union officials said today.

Around 13,000 patient care technical workers will vote on Wednesday and Thursday, according to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299.

The union cited unilateral changes to employee benefits and a recent proposal by the university to allow hospital employees to be sent home for the remainder of their shift when patient counts are low as reasons for the strike vote.

The union accused the university of bargaining in bad faith and engaging in regressive bargaining by introducing a new provision that worsens workers’ positions after negotiations were well under way.

University spokeswoman Dianne Klein said the UC has agreed to the union’s demands in areas including pensions, benefits and paid time off, but the two sides continue to disagree over wages, with the university offering a 27 percent raise over 4 years and the union asking for 27 percent over the same period, Klein said.

She said the emergency call-off measure is already part of the contract for nurses and “routine” at hospitals across the country.

Accusing the union of a “campaign of confrontation,” Klein noted that if this strike went ahead it would be the third in around nine months by this union. In the meantime the university has settled with seven other unions and another AFSCME unit since October, she said.

Sara Gaiser, Bay City News

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