The UC announced Monday contract terms concerning 15,000 UC patient care technical workers, according to a press release from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, or AFSCME Local 3299.
According to John de los Angeles, AFSCME Local 3299 spokesperson, the university has been taking “directly employed jobs” from service and patient care workers by outsourcing them to independent contractors.
“They take those jobs and then literally outsource those job conditions to independent contractors,” de los Angeles said. “Then these contractors go out and find outside workers and hire them to perform the same work for lower pay, fewer benefits — if any benefits, that is — and creates a higher risk of wage theft.”
Claire Doan, a spokesperson for the UC Office of the President, or UCOP, said in an email that she believes the term outsourcing is “inaccurate,” stating that the UC’s service contracts are local, campus-based contracts.
UC contracts are used for specific purposes, such as time-limited services, which include cleaning out the residence halls during spring break, specialized projects that include experts and particular incidences that require outside aid, according to Doan.
“Campuses need operational flexibility to address their varied needs. In certain situations, doing so with work by permanent employees would not be practical, efficient or feasible,” Doan said in an email. “And UC does not consider a service contract based on savings alone.”
Discrimination during the hiring process is also a major issue in the university, according to de los Angeles. He added that AFSCME Local 3299 has analyzed UC employment data for the years 2013-2016, which can be found in the union’s report titled “Pioneering Inequality: Race, Gender, and Income Disparities at the University of California.”
According to the report, Black female patient care workers were making 23 percent less of a starting salary compared to white men in similar positions. The Black workforce of the UC has “vanished,” de los Angeles said, while the report states that 37 percent have “disappeared” since 1996.
“While all of this is happening, we are watching executive pay skyrocket at a pace that has never happened before,” de Los Angeles said.
The patient care unit is voting to determine whether or not to strike Oct. 9 and 10, and according to de Los Angeles, the union is currently at an “impasse” with the university.
Students are also affected by the strikes — campus sophomore Nicole Zhu said she remembered the “obvious presence” of the picketers during the strikes that occurred in May.
“Last year we were woken at 6 a.m., and they were just standing outside of our windows right in the middle of finals week,” Zhu said. “I remember a lot of the food areas were also sectioned off, which sucked because it was during … finals week.”