Judge issues injunction barring certain UC workers from striking Wednesday

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A Sacramento County Superior Court judge issued an injunction Tuesday barring certain workers at UC medical centers from striking Wednesday.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, a union representing more than 20,000 patient-care workers and service employees in the UC system, announced Nov. 8 that its members will strike for 24 hours Wednesday in protest of the university’s alleged intimidation of union members during another strike in May.

At the time of the announcement, the union noted that it would exempt nearly 50 essential patient-care workers from the strike.

Still, the California Public Employment Relations Board sought an injunction against the union on behalf of the UC system to officially bar these employees from striking. The judge, David I. Brown, ruled in favor of the university, stating that “AFSCME’s conduct will create a substantial and imminent threat to the health and safety of the public and the patients of the five UC medical centers.” 

A statement released by AFSCME 3299 said the judge had “affirmed the recommendations of both AFSCME 3299 and the Public Employment Relations Board” to exempt these workers.

The threat of the AFSCME 3299 strike has already affected patients, according to a statement from the university, which noted that medical centers have had to reschedule surgeries planned for Wednesday and that ambulances may have to travel to hospitals farther away to get critically ill patients the care they require.

PERB acknowledged the union’s right to strike earlier this week, according to a statement released by AFSCME 3299 on Monday.

In an open letter published Tuesday morning, UC Vice President of Human Resources Dwaine B. Duckett invited union leaders to meet with top UC administrators Wednesday to “settle our differences.”

“In the interests of our patients and employees, I invite you to engage in a way that brings us closer together rather than driving us farther apart,” he wrote. “The path to labor peace and resolving our differences is through the negotiation process.”

AFSCME 3299 Communications Director Todd Stenhouse, however, said that he was wary of Duckett’s offer and that the letter was “nothing but a cheap stunt.”

Sara Grossman is the executive news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @saragrossman.