University of California service workers will hold a systemwide strike May 16 in response to the University’s alleged illegal outsourcing of labor.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, the UC’s largest employee union, announced Monday it will strike May 16 at the UC’s 10 campuses and five medical centers. The union filed three unfair labor practice charges in April claiming the UC illegally sought out and entered into agreements with private contractors.
This will be the fifth strike held by AFSCME Local 3299 in the past year.
The University Professional and Technical Employees-Communications Workers of America 9119, which represents about 14,000 research and technical workers in the UC, will join AFSCME Local 3299 in its strike.
AFSCME Local 3299 spokesperson John de los Angeles said the union is striking in protest of the University’s behavior.
“We hope to raise awareness of the University’s inappropriate behavior,” de los Angeles said. “We hope to shed a light on the concerns that UC workers have had for several years.”
De los Angeles said the University began outsourcing in 2015. He added those concerns have led to audits that found the University has in fact been displacing its workforce in favor of cheaper labor.
UC spokesperson Claire Doan said in an email statement the UC is confident its practices align with University policy, collective bargaining agreements and state law.
“It is clear AFSCME leaders are going to desperate lengths for attention, from sporadically announcing baseless accusations against the University to calling for a boycott of commencement speakers that squarely hurts students and their families,” Doan said.
Doan said the UC’s agreements with AFSCME Local 3299 limit the UC from contracting out labor for the sole purpose of saving on wages and benefits.
She added the number of AFSCME Local 3299 employees at the UC and their earnings have grown over time. The union grew by 17% from 2013 to 2018 and AFSCME Local 3299 employees earn 21% more on average than they did five years ago, she said.
Doan said the UC pays AFSCME Local 3299 patient care and service workers at or above market rates. She said AFSCME Local 3299 is demanding 8% annual raises for all of its units, or 36% increases over four years, while other UC employees average at most 3% a year, or 12.5% over four years.
“The University cannot justify to taxpayers or other UC employees giving AFSCME excessive raises, which has been one of the union’s primary aims in negotiations,” Doan said.
De los Angeles said the union will continue to strike in the future if the University does not change its practices.
“As long as the University continues to deny the legitimacy of outsourcing and inequality, workers will do whatever it takes to fight back against these illegal practices,” de los Angeles said.