Three Year Dispute between AFSCME 3299 and UC Ends with historic agreements to curtail outsourcing, lift wages, and expand career ladders
(From Press Release – AFSCME) – Late last night, nearly 19,000 AFSCME 3299 represented UC Patient Care workers joined UC Service workers in reaching a tentative contract agreement with UC Administrators that ends what has been one of UC’s longest running labor disputes. The historic deal, which must still be approved by a vote of the union’s membership, includes not just wage increases and secure benefits, but enforceable limits on UC’s ability to outsource service jobs to private contractors that was long sought by the union and expanded career advancement ladders for UC’s lowest wage workers.
“After nearly three years without a contract, AFSCME represented UC Service and Patient Care workers have now each succeeded in reaching agreements that strengthen middle class career pathways at UC and create enforceable reforms to staffing practices that have been entirely incompatible with UC’s core public mission,” said AFSCME 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger. “This victory is a testament to our members’ commitment to their families, to each other, and to the students and patients we are proud to serve each day.”
AFSCME 3299 represented UC Service and Patient Care workers had each been working without a contract since 2017 and waged a public battle against the outsourcing of thousands of university jobs to lower wage private contractors. All told, the units mounted six strikes, with picket lines drawing national figures including Senator Bernie Sanders and Secretary Julian Castro. The effort also included a speaker’s boycott that was honored by the likes of Former Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate Stacey Abrams, Jennifer Siebel Newsom and the Democratic National Committee.
After the union mounted a ULP Strike over the outsourcing dispute in November of 2019, the UC Board of Regents proposed a series of policy reforms on outsourcing, which have since been fashioned into enforceable contract language.
“This has been a long and hard process that required both sides to seek common ground and work in good faith,” Lybarger added. “But it has brought important issues to light about the growing problem of income inequality, the fight for what’s left of America’s middle class and how large public institutions can uplift the communities they serve. It is our hope that the history we’ve made today can begin a new era of constructive dialogue between the university and its dedicated career workforce.”
Like the agreement with Service workers reached last week, UC’s tentative agreement with its Patient Care workers ensures greater transparency on UC contracting practices, sets strict and enforceable limits to curtail outsourcing of bargaining unit work, and provides UC career paths to current contractors. It also provides represented workers with annual 3% wage increases, as well as experience based “step” increases, affordable health care rates, secure retirement benefits and expands access to training and other career advancement opportunities.
AFSCME Local 3299’s service unit membership is voting on ratification of its agreement on January 30th, and the Patient Care unit will vote on ratification of its agreement on February 4th and 6th. In both cases, Local 3299’s bargaining team is recommending a “yes” vote.