Health & Medicine

A massive UC-wide strike concluded Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know

Here's why workers are striking for a 3rd day at UC Davis Medical Center

Three union representatives talk about the reasons they have come together for a three-day labor strike at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.
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Three union representatives talk about the reasons they have come together for a three-day labor strike at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

A massive three-day strike across the University of California system ended Wednesday without resolution. The walkout involved roughly 53,000 UC service and patient-care workers belonging to three unions. Combined, the unions have about 10,000 members at UC Davis and its medical center in Sacramento.

Here are details about who joined the strike, why, and how it affected medical centers and campuses.

Picket lines at UC Davis Medical Center

At UC Davis Medical Center, about 400 strikers formed a picket line Wednesday morning, chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, UC greed has got to go,” and “No contract, no peace.”

At the main UC Davis campus, 300 people were picketing on Wednesday, said Chris Flink, a spokesman for AFSCME. He said some professors refused to cross the picket line.

Quote of the day: “We’re going to fight until we get what we approached (the UC) with. If they’re not budging, we’re not budging." –Joe Trujillo, a senior cook at UC Davis Medical Center and member of the AFSCME bargaining team

The background and details:

Who's involved: Initiating the strike were the 24,000 members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, UC's largest employee union. It includes respiratory therapists and surgical technicians in its health care unit and custodians and groundskeepers in its service unit. Joining AFSCME Local 3299 for the second and third days of the strike were the California Nurses Association, with 14,000 members, and the 15,000-member University Professional and Technical Employees-CWA. All thee unions have been locked in lengthy contract negotiations with UC. The university system, with 10 campuses and five medical centers statewide, employed roughly 223,400 people as of October 2017.

What's at stake: The labor dispute centers on wages and job security. AFSCME 3299 negotiators have sought wage increases of 6 percent, a freeze on health-care premiums and elimination of contracting out jobs for which its members are trained. AFSCME 3299 rejected the university's last-and-best offer of 3 percent across-the-board wage increases and a prorated, lump-sum payment of $750.

What’s happening in the Sacramento region: Picket lines formed each day of the strike at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento and the UC Davis campus.

The effect on patients at UC Davis Medical Center: UC Davis Health rescheduled 750 procedures as of Wednesday morning because of reduced staffing during the strike. Patients have been able to enter the facility, with security ensuring marchers stay clear of the entrances.

The effect at UC Davis campus: Classes have been conducted as normal, UC Davis spokeswoman Kim Hale said. Dining halls remain open with slight changes to hours of operation. Non-critical maintenance has been rescheduled. Seventy-one percent of workers represented by the striking bargaining units worked their shifts on Monday, Hale said.

What's next: It was unclear Wednesday what effect the strike had on negotiations. Employees are expected to return to work Thursday. It remains possible for AFSCME 3299 and other unions to call another strike in the future.

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Editor's note: This story was updated May 10, 2018, to correct the spelling of AFSCME spokesman Chris Flink's last name.

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