University of California and employee union agree on contract increasing pay

The University of California and a union representing more than 20,000 employees at the university have agreed on a new contract that will increase pay, the UC Office of the President announced Monday.

The recently ratified contract — which was a reopener on a 2008 contract between American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 and the UC — will increase union-affiliated patient care and service employees 3 percent starting Nov. 1. The new contract will also provide continued health care benefits and pension payments for employees, according to an office press release.

Starting Oct. 1, 2012, wages for service employees will increase an additional 3 percent while wages for patient care employees will increase an additional 3 percent beginning Jan. 1, 2012. The minimum wage of $13.70 an hour for service employees, which will go into effect Nov. 1, will jump to $14.42 per hour starting Oct. 1, 2012, according to the press release.

Union members, who reached a tentative agreement on a contract with the university in September, voted to ratify the agreement last week. Julian Posadas, executive vice president of the union, said that 99 percent of patient care workers and 97 percent of service workers in the statewide union voted to ratify the agreement.

“We were happy that the university at the end was willing to commit to what they had bargained with us,” Posadas said.

UC spokesperson Dianne Klein said the university was glad to reach an agreement.

“I think the important thing is that we came out of this with a handshake and good will,” Klein said. “We are looking forward to working with AFSCME not only in regard to union issues like this but also on universitywide issues.”

The reopening of contract negotiations last year was a result of the union taking issue with health and welfare benefits as well as with pension contributions, according to Klein.

Posadas said the UC told union members late last year that they did not have the financial resources to pay for wage increases for service and patient care workers.

“We were okay with the contribution,” Posadas said. “What we weren’t okay with was the lack of commitment to sustain wage increases.”

With the new contract in place, patient care workers will receive a lump sum payment to reflect the 3 percent wage increase back to January, and service workers will receive a lump sum for a 3 percent wage increase representing wages earned in October.

“We think this was a fair compromise,” Klein said. “Our interests are the same — we’re all here for the university.”

The contract ratification announcement comes on the same day the UC announced that it had agreed to merit salary increases for over 350 librarians represented by the American Federation of Teachers.