UC workers to strike for 24 hours Nov. 20

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The University of California’s largest union announced Friday that its members will participate in a 24-hour strike across the UC system Nov. 20.

The union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees 3299, will engage in an “unfair practices” strike and picketing activity in response to allegations that the UC system intimidated its workers before and during a strike in May, according to an AFSCME 3299 press release. Last week, 96 percent of union members voted in support of authorizing the strike.

AFSCME 3299 alleges managers attempted to illegally threaten or coerce patient-care and service workers multiple times when they chose to strike after the two parties reached an impasse during contract negotiations.

“Our members have both the legal right and moral responsibility to stand up for the safety of the students and patients we serve,” said AFSCME 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger in the press release.

On Sept. 12, the California Public Employment Relations Board, a state agency that oversees collective bargaining pertaining to employees of California public schools, issued a formal complaint against the UC system on behalf of the union and began an investigation of the allegations.

Dwaine Duckett, the University of California’s vice president for systemwide human resources and programs, said in a press release that the university negotiated in good faith and reprimanded AFSCME 3299 for using “patients and students as bargain chips” during a labor dispute. He noted that the California Public Employment Relations Board has not found the university guilty of any wrongdoing and was simply required to investigate the union’s claims.

The union will announce the locations and times of picket lines next week, according to Todd Stenhouse, AFSCME 3299 communications director.

Members of the California Nurses Association and UC Santa Cruz’s Skilled Crafts Unit will also join the picket lines, the press release states.

AFSCME 3299 represents more than 22,000 service and patient-care workers across the UC system’s 10 campuses, five medical centers and multiple clinics and laboratories.

Jeremy Gordon contributed to this report.

Daphne Chen is a news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @dchen_dc.