Dozens of UC Davis workers on one-day strike over contract dispute
Approximately 53,000 hospital workers are to hit the picket lines on Monday at 6 a.m., to protest stagnating contract negotiations with the University of California. Nurses will strike in sympathy May 8-9. About 10,000 of the 53,000 workers represented in the strike work for the University of California, Davis, on its campus or in its medical center.
Hospital operational leaders for the UC Davis Medical Center were unavailable to comment.
In a statement emailed the The Bee, a spokeswoman said, “We have a strike management plan in place and we are prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of our patients in the face of this short labor strike...Some same-day surgeries are being handled this week, some procedures are being moved from early next week to later next week, and some are being moved into the following week...Other impacts of the strike are expected to be the closure of the hospital cafeteria (surrounding restaurants off-campus will be open, patients will still receive meals) and there may be some delays in some trash collections.”
Here are some answers to key questions from the worker's perspective with John de los Angeles, spokesman for AFSCME 3299. Union members are seeking wage increases of 6 percent, a freeze on health-care premiums and job security that eliminates contracting out jobs for which its members are trained. Workers rejected the UC's latest offer of 3 percent across-the-board wage increases and a prorated, lump-sum payment of $750.
Q. Which hospitals will be affected?
A. UC Davis Medical Center
Q. Will the strike affect patients?
A. It will affect folks who are scheduling elective procedures. They’re probably going to have to reschedule those elective procedures, but we’ve put together our patient protection task force so any patient who needs immediate, emergency assistance should be able to get that.
Q. Will the Emergency Room be closed?
A. No, it will not be closed.
Q. Will the strike affect access to the hospital?
A. No, our members certainly want to make their voices be heard, but we are not about causing any threat to public health and safety, and so should anyone need access to the hospital they will have access.
Q. Who decides how many workers will be scheduled to work during the strike?
A. The onus of patient care during this is on the University of California, but workers going on strike have prioritized public health and safety before the strike and that’s why we’ve put together what we’re calling a patient protection task force that is ready to respond to life-threatening situations should UC’s strike contingency measures break down.
Q. How many workers will be working during the strike?
A. Now, that number I actually don’t have but it does consist of certain titles that absolutely necessary in an emergency situation. Just a sample of those titles are respiratory therapist, MRI technologist and CT technologist.
Q. What notice does the AFSCME 3299 have to give the University of California before striking?
A. We’ve already given them a 10-day notice. We delivered notice to all 10 campuses, five medical centers, research laboratories and clinics.
Q. Are additional strike days planned?
A. This is all depending on the UC. Two Fridays ago, the UC decided to impose contract terms on worker that have already been openly rejected. And, it was a UC decision to go ahead to impose these terms that was actually the linchpin for calling this three-day strike.
The UC has the power to implement these terms, and the UC has the power to stop this strike. Whether or not there's’ another strike in the future is entirely dependent on UC.
Q. What are AFSCME 3299 union members seeking in their contract?
A. There are a few things. One, UC can close the widening (economic) divide between the top and the bottom (wage earners).
Two, we need UC to focus on the recruitment, the retention and the training aimed at underrepresented communities.
Third, they need to stop outsourcing our jobs.
Molly Sullivan: 916-321-1176, @SullivanMollyM