Local

University of California, 8,000 service workers reach tentative contract deal

University of California administrators have reached a tentative labor agreement with 8,000 service workers in a long-running dispute centered primarily around job outsourcing.

The contract, which must still be approved by a vote of the American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees Local 3299’s membership, includes wage increases and benefit protections as well as enforceable limits on the school’s ability to outsource service jobs to lower-paid private contractors.

Union members throughout California are expected to ratify the agreement by Jan. 30.

“UC is pleased that after working with AFSCME leadership to address joint concerns and resolve our outstanding differences we have reached a multi-year agreement for our valued employees,” the school said in a statement.

AFSCM spokesman Todd Stenhouse said a key win in the tentative agreement is the enforceable language regarding UC’s ability to outsource.

“There is accountability,” he said, “and that is a major issue for us.”

3-year wait

Service workers — which include food service employees, parking attendants, custodial workers and landscapers, among others — have been without a contract since 2017 and have long complained that jobs are being lost to outsourcing.

In November, thousands of UC service and patient care workers fanned out across the school’s 10 California campuses and five medical centers to protest UC’s practice of outsourcing jobs. The school’s 19,000 AFSCME 3299-represented patient care technical workers (including nurse aides, respiratory therapists, radiology technologists and patient transporters and others) have yet to reach a tentative agreement but are still in negotiations.

Six strikes have been held

Both units have been working without a contract since 2017 and have waged six strikes as well as a speaker’s boycott that prompted the Democratic National Committee to move a planned presidential debate away from UCLA in December.

Monica De Leon, a unit secretary in the labor and delivery department at UC Irvine Medical Center and a member of AFSCME’s Unfair Labor Practices committee, said employees feel their job security has been compromised.

“The outsourcing problem has been around the university for years,” the 39-year-old Anaheim resident said in November. “We’ve mostly seen it in-service units, but in the past year it’s come into patient care areas, too.”

Stenhouse said UC’s tentative labor pact with service employees is a welcome development.

“This will place limits on outsourcing and also make the process more transparent,” he said. “It will be more transparent regarding disclosure and bargaining over when it will happen. This will effectively curtail outsourcing.”

In regard to benefits, UC service workers will receive health and welfare benefits at the same graduated salary-based rates as other employees, plus a $10 cap on monthly increases for Kaiser and Health Net Blue & Gold plans, UC said.

Pay hikes, protection of benefits

Tags
Show More
Back to top button
Close