Monday, September 23

UC, union workers end negotiations on plan with wage increases, health benefits

The original headline and body of this article contained information that was incorrect and has been changed. See the bottom of the article for additional information.

The University of California has ended negotiations with union workers and implemented its last contract offer without reaching a settlement, according to a statement released Wednesday.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees 3299, which represents about 12,000 patient care workers at 10 UC campuses and five UC medical centers, has been deadlocked in negotiations over workers’ benefits since December. Negotiations were recently terminated without reaching a settlement, according to a UC statement released Wednesday.

“(The University) would have preferred to reach a settlement, but this implementation provides our patient care staff with fair wage increases and good benefits now, rather than forcing them to continue waiting through stalled negotiations,” said Dwaine Duckett, vice president for systemwide human resources and programs in the statement.

The UC’s changes for AFSCME patient care workers include a guaranteed 2 percent increase in wages in July and a 1.5 percent increase around Oct. 1 of this year. The University’s proposal also includes a slightly revised tier of pension benefits for employees hired on or after July 1, 2013.

Under the UC’s proposal, employees hired before July 1, 2013 will need to pay increased contribution rates of 6.5 percent to their retirement plan, while the University pays an increased 12 percent. According to the UC statement, AFSCME employees will receive the same health benefits and pay the same retirement plan rates as other UC employees.

Duckett said in the statement that eight other unions with University employees had already agreed to the UC’s proposal. He said the University did not want to give AFSCME a special, more beneficial offer than it had already given the other eight unions.

In a statement released early Thursday, AFSCME 3299 criticized the UC’s move and said the components of the new contract being implemented are negligible compared to benefits that UC executives receive.

“We view this as a full frontal assault – not just on the collective bargaining process and the frontline workers at the backbone of the UC system – but on the students, patients, and taxpayers this system is supposed to serve,” said Kathryn Lybarger, president of AFSCME 3299 in the statement.

Lybarger said in the statement that AFSCME 3299 hopes current president-designate Janet Napolitano will stand up to high executive salaries, which AFSCME 3299 has often criticized.

She added that the new contract proposal the UC is implementing would make AFSCME 3299 workers pay more in pension contributions, among other increased costs.

Compiled by Kristen Taketa, Bruin senior staff.

Correction: The University of California and AFSCME 3299 ended negotiations without reaching a settlement. The union represents about 12,000 patient care workers at the UC.

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