Patient care technical employees vote to ratify contract with UC.
The University of California was informed today (March 28) that members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) voted to ratify a contract agreement with UC. In response to the ratification, Dwaine Duckett, UC’s vice president for human resources, released the following statement:
We are pleased that our dedicated patient care technical employees voted to ratify a contract agreement with the University of California. This follows two years of difficult negotiations focused on the complex issue of pension reform. The negotiations concluded with both sides responding to the other’s key concerns and ultimately compromising.
We are disappointed that this process took as long as it did and became so contentious. The university’s agreement with AFSCME 3299 is very similar to ones UC reached months ago with CNA, a union representing nurses, and UPTE, which represents other hospital workers. These contracts were achieved in less time and with significantly less stress and uncertainty for workers at our hospitals.
From the beginning, the primary issue in our negotiations with AFSCME was pension reform, with the union asserting that no change was needed and choosing to strike over the issue. We’ve successfully bargained through this key issue for the university, and have put the pension plan on a fiscally sound path by addressing this head-on.
Regarding annual wage increases, the union’s initial demands were eventually adjusted from more than 10 percent a year over 3 years to approximately 6 percent a year over 4 years, which includes across-the-board raises and experience-based step increases that we believe are fair and appropriate for these skilled health-care jobs.
Fortunately, settling this agreement spared AFSCME patient care technical workers who wanted to come to work from having to cross a picket line. It also ensured that patients who have come to rely on our top-rated medical facilities for care could continue to receive that care without disruption. We value the work of our respiratory therapists, surgical perfusionists and radiation technicians (who provide cancer treatment), along with many other critical AFSCME patient care employees, and are pleased they are staying on the job. The prospect of yet another strike — even though it was averted at the 11th hour — was a disservice to our patients, employees and the public at large.
With this agreement settled, the university can move forward with our employees and continue to meet UC’s mission of teaching, research and public service at our campuses, medical centers and national labs.