LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – For the second time in a month, thousands of University of California union workers across the state will go on one-day strike Wednesday.
Beginning at 9 a.m., more than 25,000 UC service and patient care workers will picket outside medical centers across the state, including Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and UC Irvine Medical Center. They are represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union (AFSCME).READ MORE: LA Marks World AIDS Day With Memorial Ceremony In Lincoln Park
The walkout comes amid contract talks between AFSCME and UC that have been ongoing for nearly two years.
On March 20, about 10,000 UC research and technical workers represented by the University Professional & Technical Employees (UPTE) union held a similar statewide strike amid their own contract dispute. They were joined for a rally at UCLA by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders. Although that strike was for UPTE workers, the thousands of AFSCME workers joined them in a sympathy capacity.
Union officials allege that the school has engaged in unfair labor practices amid the negotiations, a claim which the school denies.READ MORE: Police Arrest Driver Of Stolen White Pickup Truck
“As UC’s employees have worked to voice concerns over outsourcing and income inequality over the last several months, the University of California has worked even harder to unlawfully silence those voices,” said AFSCME Local 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger in a statement Monday. “Through illegal actions, UC has trampled state law and created an unwelcoming workplace that undermines workers’ ability to exercise their rights.”
UC spokeswoman Claire Doan called the unfair labor practice allegation “nothing more than a blatant attempt to justify yet another strike.”
“For the fourth time in under a year, union leaders will try — and again fail — to extract bargaining concessions from the university through economic pressure, at the continued expense of patients, students and communities statewide,” Doan said.
According to the UC, the union rejected the university’s latest offer without ever presenting it to union members. University officials sent an outline of the proposal to union members last week, saying it includes annual 3 percent raises over the next four years, a $2,000 lump-sum payment upon ratification of the contract, health benefits on par with those given to other employees and unchanged pension benefits to current employees.MORE NEWS: Germarcus Lamar David Arraignment Set For Jan. 12
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