UC Service Workers To Strike

Last week, 8,500 UC workers announced that they will hold a five-day strike at UC’s ten campuses and five medical centers.

According to a release from AFSCME, the union that represents university workers, the strike is for the service workers, however, thousands of medical workers could individually honor the picket lines and not cross it.

“At issue are poverty wages as low as $10 per hour. Many work 2-3 jobs and qualify for public assistance to meet their families’ basic needs. UC wages have fallen dramatically behind other hospitals and California’s community colleges where workers are paid family-sustaining wages that are on average of 25% higher. In addition, when workers have stood up for better lives for their families and better working conditions, the University has retaliated by violating labor laws.

96% of service workers are eligible for at least one of the following forms of public assistance: food stamps, WIC, public housing subsidies and subsidized child care, creating a potential burden for CA taxpayers. Increasing wages would not only help lift workers out of poverty, but could positively impact CA and the low- and moderate-income areas where UC workers live as they contribute more to their local economy.”

11,500 patient care workers have also been in negotiations since August of 2007. At this point, they are not calling for a strike although some may decide not to cross the picket line in solidarity.

Last week the Davis Enterprise quoted Nicole Savickas, a UC human resources communications coordinator:

“The university is disappointed that the union has decided to call for a strike of UC service workers at this time… While UC and AFSCME spent the last few weeks of June bargaining for patient care technical employees, the university has not received a response to its last request (from mid-June) to continue discussions for service employees… We hope that the union will reconsider and join us back at the bargaining table to continue negotiations for new contracts for both our service and patient care technical employees.”

However, Leticia Garcia-Prado who works as a medical assistant at Cowell Student Health Center told the Enterprise that the university’s latest proposal included no substantive changes from the previous offer.

Workers are particularly upset that the well-paid upper management of the university has been receiving pay increases even as the service workers are locked into low wages. Some may question the timing of these strikes and requests for pay increases during times of budget crisis and economic downturn.

It is important to note that 78 percent of the funding that pays for service worker position does not come from the state’s general fund. Instead a large portion of the funding comes directly from revenues generated from UC Hospitals. In 2006, UC Hospitals posted $371 million in profits.

Moreover, California State-appointed neutral Factfinder Carol Vendrillo, who independently evaluated the viability of a service workers’ labor agreement, found that the university system has the ability to increase pay to these workers.

“U.C. has demonstrated the ability to increase compensation when it fits with certain priorities without any demonstrable link to a state funding source…It is time for UC to take a broader view of its priorities by honoring the important contribution that service workers make to the U.C. community and compensating them with wages that are in line with the competitive market rate.”

Meanwhile Union officials have said they will not strike before July 12, 2008.

Commentary

It is disappointing that it has come to this. The University of California system is the finest public higher education system in the country. They offer many students a world class education for a very affordable price. Unfortunately, they are paying their lowest level employees wages that require many to receive public assistance.

Leticia Garcia-Prado takes home less than $2000 per month in her position as a patient care worker. She is earning this in a community where the median income is more than twice that.

The university is using the state budget as a means to hold up this process. But most of the money for these wages do not come from the state budget. It is time that we move forward as a community and no longer accept the UC system paying its wage earners meager wages.

It took the Sodexho workers a number of years, but they finally this spring forced UC Davis to transition them to university employees. This was a good step forward, but now we need to take it to the next level and pay all university employees a good and fair wage for the excellent service they provide to the university and the community.

SPECIAL NOTE: This is the Vanguard’s 1000th post. The Vanguard was first published on July 30, 2006 and since September of 2006 has been publishing at least once daily except during the Thanksgiving Holiday. The Vanguard wishes to thank all of the readers who have been around since the beginning and welcome those who are just joining us.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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56 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I think some facts regarding the “profits” taken by UC hospitals should be examined. Running the primary source of acute care for the indigent in the greater Sacramento metropolitan area and the only tertiary care facility for all of inland northern California is not a windfall profit generator as the comment in your post appears to protray. The UCD health system is under tremendous fiscal pressure from declining state and federal payments to provide care for the indigent and lower-income populations. The demand for setrvices remains constant with declining revenues. I think this statement about this seeming windfall profit needs to be put in context of the fiscal realities of health system operations.

  2. Anonymous

    I think some facts regarding the “profits” taken by UC hospitals should be examined. Running the primary source of acute care for the indigent in the greater Sacramento metropolitan area and the only tertiary care facility for all of inland northern California is not a windfall profit generator as the comment in your post appears to protray. The UCD health system is under tremendous fiscal pressure from declining state and federal payments to provide care for the indigent and lower-income populations. The demand for setrvices remains constant with declining revenues. I think this statement about this seeming windfall profit needs to be put in context of the fiscal realities of health system operations.

  3. Anonymous

    I think some facts regarding the “profits” taken by UC hospitals should be examined. Running the primary source of acute care for the indigent in the greater Sacramento metropolitan area and the only tertiary care facility for all of inland northern California is not a windfall profit generator as the comment in your post appears to protray. The UCD health system is under tremendous fiscal pressure from declining state and federal payments to provide care for the indigent and lower-income populations. The demand for setrvices remains constant with declining revenues. I think this statement about this seeming windfall profit needs to be put in context of the fiscal realities of health system operations.

  4. Anonymous

    I think some facts regarding the “profits” taken by UC hospitals should be examined. Running the primary source of acute care for the indigent in the greater Sacramento metropolitan area and the only tertiary care facility for all of inland northern California is not a windfall profit generator as the comment in your post appears to protray. The UCD health system is under tremendous fiscal pressure from declining state and federal payments to provide care for the indigent and lower-income populations. The demand for setrvices remains constant with declining revenues. I think this statement about this seeming windfall profit needs to be put in context of the fiscal realities of health system operations.

  5. Union Supporter

    That is perhaps true, but my hesitancy as always is that those points seem to always be made at the expense of those on the bottom and rarely at the expense on those at the top of the pay pyramid.

  6. Union Supporter

    That is perhaps true, but my hesitancy as always is that those points seem to always be made at the expense of those on the bottom and rarely at the expense on those at the top of the pay pyramid.

  7. Union Supporter

    That is perhaps true, but my hesitancy as always is that those points seem to always be made at the expense of those on the bottom and rarely at the expense on those at the top of the pay pyramid.

  8. Union Supporter

    That is perhaps true, but my hesitancy as always is that those points seem to always be made at the expense of those on the bottom and rarely at the expense on those at the top of the pay pyramid.

  9. Anonymous

    Yes, I cannot argue with that point. I also do not believe in the unfair treatment of lower-paid workers. It just bothered me that the statement about the profits made by the hospitals was brief and rather unqualified. It is a good thing that hospitals still make money, but that is rapidly shrinking. I would hate to see that part of the UC system characterized as some sort of “cash cow” because things are changing rapidly and there’s not so much money there as one may believe. Further, should they not be profitable at all and UC unable to sustain them… where would the lower-income populous go for healthcare?

  10. Anonymous

    Yes, I cannot argue with that point. I also do not believe in the unfair treatment of lower-paid workers. It just bothered me that the statement about the profits made by the hospitals was brief and rather unqualified. It is a good thing that hospitals still make money, but that is rapidly shrinking. I would hate to see that part of the UC system characterized as some sort of “cash cow” because things are changing rapidly and there’s not so much money there as one may believe. Further, should they not be profitable at all and UC unable to sustain them… where would the lower-income populous go for healthcare?

  11. Anonymous

    Yes, I cannot argue with that point. I also do not believe in the unfair treatment of lower-paid workers. It just bothered me that the statement about the profits made by the hospitals was brief and rather unqualified. It is a good thing that hospitals still make money, but that is rapidly shrinking. I would hate to see that part of the UC system characterized as some sort of “cash cow” because things are changing rapidly and there’s not so much money there as one may believe. Further, should they not be profitable at all and UC unable to sustain them… where would the lower-income populous go for healthcare?

  12. Anonymous

    Yes, I cannot argue with that point. I also do not believe in the unfair treatment of lower-paid workers. It just bothered me that the statement about the profits made by the hospitals was brief and rather unqualified. It is a good thing that hospitals still make money, but that is rapidly shrinking. I would hate to see that part of the UC system characterized as some sort of “cash cow” because things are changing rapidly and there’s not so much money there as one may believe. Further, should they not be profitable at all and UC unable to sustain them… where would the lower-income populous go for healthcare?

  13. Congrats to DPD

    Congrats DPD, on a job well done. Many in the community deeply appreciate your efforts on behalf of concerned citizens. I personally think you have forced the Davis Enterprise to do a better job in its reporting, altho it has a long way to go to catch up!

    Low wages in this country is commonplace. Look at the salaries of the military at the lowest echelon. They don’t even make minimum wage for the number of hours they work. Yet we have fat cat politicians with perks up the wazoo. Something wrong with this picture…

  14. Congrats to DPD

    Congrats DPD, on a job well done. Many in the community deeply appreciate your efforts on behalf of concerned citizens. I personally think you have forced the Davis Enterprise to do a better job in its reporting, altho it has a long way to go to catch up!

    Low wages in this country is commonplace. Look at the salaries of the military at the lowest echelon. They don’t even make minimum wage for the number of hours they work. Yet we have fat cat politicians with perks up the wazoo. Something wrong with this picture…

  15. Congrats to DPD

    Congrats DPD, on a job well done. Many in the community deeply appreciate your efforts on behalf of concerned citizens. I personally think you have forced the Davis Enterprise to do a better job in its reporting, altho it has a long way to go to catch up!

    Low wages in this country is commonplace. Look at the salaries of the military at the lowest echelon. They don’t even make minimum wage for the number of hours they work. Yet we have fat cat politicians with perks up the wazoo. Something wrong with this picture…

  16. Congrats to DPD

    Congrats DPD, on a job well done. Many in the community deeply appreciate your efforts on behalf of concerned citizens. I personally think you have forced the Davis Enterprise to do a better job in its reporting, altho it has a long way to go to catch up!

    Low wages in this country is commonplace. Look at the salaries of the military at the lowest echelon. They don’t even make minimum wage for the number of hours they work. Yet we have fat cat politicians with perks up the wazoo. Something wrong with this picture…

  17. Richard

    Black Bart said…

    Underpaid workers eligable for public assistance. Sort of like Walmart.

    7/7/08 4:51 PM

    Highly paid UC executives rewarded for keeping labor costs down. That’s a lot like Walmart, too.

    –Richard Estes

  18. Richard

    Black Bart said…

    Underpaid workers eligable for public assistance. Sort of like Walmart.

    7/7/08 4:51 PM

    Highly paid UC executives rewarded for keeping labor costs down. That’s a lot like Walmart, too.

    –Richard Estes

  19. Richard

    Black Bart said…

    Underpaid workers eligable for public assistance. Sort of like Walmart.

    7/7/08 4:51 PM

    Highly paid UC executives rewarded for keeping labor costs down. That’s a lot like Walmart, too.

    –Richard Estes

  20. Richard

    Black Bart said…

    Underpaid workers eligable for public assistance. Sort of like Walmart.

    7/7/08 4:51 PM

    Highly paid UC executives rewarded for keeping labor costs down. That’s a lot like Walmart, too.

    –Richard Estes

  21. Anonymous

    DPD,
    You stated that most of the income does come from the state budget. You also said that it is time employee’s are paid a fair wage.

    Because those are very broad statements could you define them little better for those of us that are interested in this issue.

    Where is “most” of the income derived from? What is a fair wage, dollar amount? How much money is lining the pockets of union officials out the entire amount.

    How much are top union officials paid for their representation of these workers? Your answer?

  22. Anonymous

    DPD,
    You stated that most of the income does come from the state budget. You also said that it is time employee’s are paid a fair wage.

    Because those are very broad statements could you define them little better for those of us that are interested in this issue.

    Where is “most” of the income derived from? What is a fair wage, dollar amount? How much money is lining the pockets of union officials out the entire amount.

    How much are top union officials paid for their representation of these workers? Your answer?

  23. Anonymous

    DPD,
    You stated that most of the income does come from the state budget. You also said that it is time employee’s are paid a fair wage.

    Because those are very broad statements could you define them little better for those of us that are interested in this issue.

    Where is “most” of the income derived from? What is a fair wage, dollar amount? How much money is lining the pockets of union officials out the entire amount.

    How much are top union officials paid for their representation of these workers? Your answer?

  24. Anonymous

    DPD,
    You stated that most of the income does come from the state budget. You also said that it is time employee’s are paid a fair wage.

    Because those are very broad statements could you define them little better for those of us that are interested in this issue.

    Where is “most” of the income derived from? What is a fair wage, dollar amount? How much money is lining the pockets of union officials out the entire amount.

    How much are top union officials paid for their representation of these workers? Your answer?

  25. Anonymous

    Dpd,
    Is there some reason you did not reply to the above? Time factor? No response necessary? What? We would like to hear your opinion. Thanks….

  26. Anonymous

    Dpd,
    Is there some reason you did not reply to the above? Time factor? No response necessary? What? We would like to hear your opinion. Thanks….

  27. Anonymous

    Dpd,
    Is there some reason you did not reply to the above? Time factor? No response necessary? What? We would like to hear your opinion. Thanks….

  28. Anonymous

    Dpd,
    Is there some reason you did not reply to the above? Time factor? No response necessary? What? We would like to hear your opinion. Thanks….

  29. Anonymous

    Apparently greenwald does not want to, or has not taken the time to respond. One thing you can bet on is that greenwald will explain it from a union viewpoint.

    I hope they go strike for months so they can figure out how fortunate they are. Meanwhile the union will keep stealing their money, and the taxpayers money. This allows the union beaucracy to keep living their comfortable lives off the backs of the underpaid and the taxpayers, what a gig.

    Thanks mr. greenwald for your union support.

  30. Anonymous

    Apparently greenwald does not want to, or has not taken the time to respond. One thing you can bet on is that greenwald will explain it from a union viewpoint.

    I hope they go strike for months so they can figure out how fortunate they are. Meanwhile the union will keep stealing their money, and the taxpayers money. This allows the union beaucracy to keep living their comfortable lives off the backs of the underpaid and the taxpayers, what a gig.

    Thanks mr. greenwald for your union support.

  31. Anonymous

    Apparently greenwald does not want to, or has not taken the time to respond. One thing you can bet on is that greenwald will explain it from a union viewpoint.

    I hope they go strike for months so they can figure out how fortunate they are. Meanwhile the union will keep stealing their money, and the taxpayers money. This allows the union beaucracy to keep living their comfortable lives off the backs of the underpaid and the taxpayers, what a gig.

    Thanks mr. greenwald for your union support.

  32. Anonymous

    Apparently greenwald does not want to, or has not taken the time to respond. One thing you can bet on is that greenwald will explain it from a union viewpoint.

    I hope they go strike for months so they can figure out how fortunate they are. Meanwhile the union will keep stealing their money, and the taxpayers money. This allows the union beaucracy to keep living their comfortable lives off the backs of the underpaid and the taxpayers, what a gig.

    Thanks mr. greenwald for your union support.

  33. Cody Duane Potter

    Yay Vanguard! Congratulations on 1,000. I’m glad you were able to share such a feat with 3299.
    Anonymous… if you don’t already know, you are picking sides. The wrong side I’ve got to say
    You are NOT choosing to be on the side of people like you, you are choosing the side of the MEGA RICH. You are choosing an awful health care system. You are choosing greed. You are choosing poverty. You are choosing isolation.
    Unions- in particular AFSCME 3299- fight back against these things. We believe the world can be better.
    We believe in fairness and moderation- not greed.
    We believe our country and our businesses have the money for good health care.
    We believe poverty isn’t a good thing for anyone, that people should be able to live comfortably- be able to buy food, shelter and have access to good health.
    We believe in community, solidarity, and compassion- not isolation.
    I urge you to join the hard working people in our community and come to the picket line and stop whining and hiding behind a computer screen. Stand with people like you, start supporting Unions, and start supporting your community.
    I hope to see you out there tommorrow!

  34. Cody Duane Potter

    Yay Vanguard! Congratulations on 1,000. I’m glad you were able to share such a feat with 3299.
    Anonymous… if you don’t already know, you are picking sides. The wrong side I’ve got to say
    You are NOT choosing to be on the side of people like you, you are choosing the side of the MEGA RICH. You are choosing an awful health care system. You are choosing greed. You are choosing poverty. You are choosing isolation.
    Unions- in particular AFSCME 3299- fight back against these things. We believe the world can be better.
    We believe in fairness and moderation- not greed.
    We believe our country and our businesses have the money for good health care.
    We believe poverty isn’t a good thing for anyone, that people should be able to live comfortably- be able to buy food, shelter and have access to good health.
    We believe in community, solidarity, and compassion- not isolation.
    I urge you to join the hard working people in our community and come to the picket line and stop whining and hiding behind a computer screen. Stand with people like you, start supporting Unions, and start supporting your community.
    I hope to see you out there tommorrow!

  35. Cody Duane Potter

    Yay Vanguard! Congratulations on 1,000. I’m glad you were able to share such a feat with 3299.
    Anonymous… if you don’t already know, you are picking sides. The wrong side I’ve got to say
    You are NOT choosing to be on the side of people like you, you are choosing the side of the MEGA RICH. You are choosing an awful health care system. You are choosing greed. You are choosing poverty. You are choosing isolation.
    Unions- in particular AFSCME 3299- fight back against these things. We believe the world can be better.
    We believe in fairness and moderation- not greed.
    We believe our country and our businesses have the money for good health care.
    We believe poverty isn’t a good thing for anyone, that people should be able to live comfortably- be able to buy food, shelter and have access to good health.
    We believe in community, solidarity, and compassion- not isolation.
    I urge you to join the hard working people in our community and come to the picket line and stop whining and hiding behind a computer screen. Stand with people like you, start supporting Unions, and start supporting your community.
    I hope to see you out there tommorrow!

  36. Cody Duane Potter

    Yay Vanguard! Congratulations on 1,000. I’m glad you were able to share such a feat with 3299.
    Anonymous… if you don’t already know, you are picking sides. The wrong side I’ve got to say
    You are NOT choosing to be on the side of people like you, you are choosing the side of the MEGA RICH. You are choosing an awful health care system. You are choosing greed. You are choosing poverty. You are choosing isolation.
    Unions- in particular AFSCME 3299- fight back against these things. We believe the world can be better.
    We believe in fairness and moderation- not greed.
    We believe our country and our businesses have the money for good health care.
    We believe poverty isn’t a good thing for anyone, that people should be able to live comfortably- be able to buy food, shelter and have access to good health.
    We believe in community, solidarity, and compassion- not isolation.
    I urge you to join the hard working people in our community and come to the picket line and stop whining and hiding behind a computer screen. Stand with people like you, start supporting Unions, and start supporting your community.
    I hope to see you out there tommorrow!

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