UC system workers will hold a strike April 10 after filing an unfair labor practice charge alleging that the UC system has taken unfair action against workers who have been involved in protesting and striking in the past.
Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, or AFSCME Local 3299, are claiming that the university has “illegally intimidated and violated the rights of workers” who have taken part in striking and protesting the outsourcing of jobs and income inequality, according to an AFSCME press release.
The charge, which was filed March 25, brought up instances such as workplace harassment targeted at workers because of their union activity, to an instance of physical assault in which a UC Davis supervisor drove his truck violently at a group of picketing workers, according to AFSCME Local 3299 spokesperson John de los Angeles.
“It’s a culture of intimidation that has been alleged, that workers have had enough of,” said de los Angeles.
AFSCME Local 3299 has almost 25,000 members from a variety of jobs including janitors and groundskeepers, as well as patient care technical unit jobs such as nurse assistants and patient transporters, according to de los Angeles.
The unfair labor practice charge gives examples of intimidation, citing an instance of a food worker who has not returned to a protest or strike since he was “singled out and assaulted” in Berkeley by campus police who responded to a protest, according to the press release.
UC spokesperson Claire Doan said in an email that the university believes the labor charge “lacks merit” and is being used to justify another strike. She added that union leaders have “little regard” for the impact their strikes have on patients, students and the community.
“Their rallying cry is ‘fairness,’ and yet they want raises that are nearly twice or triple that of other UC employees,” Doan said in an email. “It’s unfortunate that the low member participation during last week’s strike has not persuaded AFSCME leaders to pursue an approach that would actually help workers: real, good-faith bargaining.”
De los Angeles said he thinks the university will respond to the strike by claiming they are offering a fair pay raise, though he said this holds little weight because those same jobs are being outsourced to private companies, which is another reason workers were striking in the first place.
“Workers run our university and they should be treated fairly and equitably both through the bargaining process, and in the contract that they receive,” said ASUC External Affairs Vice President Nuha Khalfay. “If the university has treated workers unfairly and violated their rights, this is unacceptable.”