Union Workers Strike Against University of California

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Union Workers Strike Against University of California
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(Photo: John Palminteri of KEYT News)

A three-day strike began Monday for all University of California service and patient care technical workers.

University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union couldn't reach a contract agreement resulting in over 50,000 workers to protest throughout California. Classes at UCSB are expected to continue as regularly scheduled.

University of California workers represented by AFSCME Local 3299 voted last month to authorize a systemwide strike, with 97 percent voting yes.

AFSCME's feels there is a growing inequality within the UC workforce including racial and ethnic diversity, employment of women and income gaps between administrators and workers. According to Local 3299’s recently released report, the number of black workers in the UC workforce has declined by 37 percent since 1996.

“When a taxpayer-funded university – whose operations in California are larger than Walmart’s are in this state – fails to meet standards of fairness and equality, it’s our duty and responsibility as Californians to hold them accountable,” said Kathryn Lybarger, lead gardener at UC Berkeley and president of AFSCME Local 3299. “Whether by withholding participation in planned UC events, or joining us on picket lines, we’re calling for elected representatives across California to take a stand against injustice and honor our struggle.”

The union claims they are fed up with stalled contract negotiations and "post-impasse mediation procedures" that failed to yield an agreement.

“We’ve negotiated in good faith with UC for over a year now,” said Oscar Rubio, a UCLA food service worker and vice president of AFSCME Local 3299’s Service Unit. “Instead of working with us to address issues of widening inequality and outsourcing, UC’s administrators are pushing proposals that will only make things worse.”

The union is asking for a multi-year contract with annual wage increases of 6% with no increases in monthly healthcare premiums and a continued retirement age of 60 for full pension benefits. The University of California is offering a 3% wage increase over four years, a $25 dollar cap on monthly healthcare premiums and raising the retirement age to 65 for new employees, reports KEYT.

The strike is scheduled to end on May 9th.

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Factotum May 09, 2018 08:53 AM
Union Workers Strike Against University of California

Where do increases in state revenues go? "California’s General Fund tax revenues have grown nearly 50 percent since a tax increase in 2012. But funding for most services has grown at a fraction of that pace. Eg, funding for courts has grown only 12 percent. That’s because tax revenues are increasingly being diverted to (i) pensions, (ii) subsidies for retired employees (“OPEB”), and (iii) enterprises reimbursed by Medi-Cal, the state’s single payer health insurer for 13.5 million residents. Absent reform, the “Big Three” will consume ever-larger shares of the budget, which will lead to ever-more-frequent calls for tax increases." (David Crane - Govern California)

Factotum May 08, 2018 01:37 PM
Union Workers Strike Against University of California

Case in point: Did UC AFSCME rep Kathryn Lybargar already get consistent raises over the past four years for the exact same job classification description? From $80K - $96K in four years. (2016- $95,842; 2015 - $91,768; 2014 - $90,512; 2013 - $79,580). When taxpayers are required to fund increased health care and pension benefits for each government employee, that is called getting a raise. It comes out of our pocket. It is a raise. Thank you is the proper response.

a-1566566241 May 08, 2018 01:32 PM
Union Workers Strike Against University of California

To those who don't seem to comprehend a public vs private worker - when the taxpayers are paying your salary they get to know how much. Unless you, taxpayer, are paying a private sector employees salary what they make is none of your beeswax. When I get a job in the public sector I'll (have to) disclose how much tax money I take in a year, and before that, none of your beeswax!Here are some more overbloated salaries, way more than attorneys I know: James Lawrence Mora INTERCOL ATH HEAD COACH EX University of California, 2016 $300,000.00 $0.00 $3,277,299.00 $3,577,299.00 $56,595.00 $3,633,894.00. Another: erry L Tetef HS ASSOC CLIN PROF-HCOMP University of California, 2016 $163,568.00 $0.00 $836,431.00 $999,999.00 $36,598.00 $1,036,597.00

a-1566566241 May 08, 2018 10:48 AM
Union Workers Strike Against University of California

Full pension retirement at 60 is simply unsustainable. Wage increases are obviously necessary and are something that need to be addressed in a reasonable manner...but full pensions at 60 is crazy. There are other problems and reasons for skyrocketing tuition costs, but this is obviously part of it and should be addressed and changed now to 65+.

RHS May 08, 2018 08:23 AM
Union Workers Strike Against University of California

The salaries bandied about here as being allegedly greedy and excessive are what it takes to maintain a middle class existence in most of CA. The idea that working people should suffer in some sort of serf like relationship while the uber wealthy take in millions of tax benefited money is distorted. The attack on unions is the capitalist owners attempt to under pay those working people whom they need inside the US. They have already accomplished this by exporting what work they can to places that have no protection for workers (or the environment by the way). Best wishes for success. (And it should be noted that the excessive salary issue is much more relevant to the money being paid to the administrators and coaches than to the working folks).

Factotum May 08, 2018 10:27 AM
Union Workers Strike Against University of California

Government workers are paid plenty. Their unions decide how this money gets allocated between take-home pay and privileged benefits and union dues that are not available to non-government employees. These union employees need to demand a better allocation of the already generous payments they get from state and local taxpayers. It is not longer our problem - the problem exists now entirely within the relationship between the union bosses and their union rank and file members. Trying to turn this and ersatz class warfare issue no longer sounds in fact. Government employees now belong to the 1% when it comes to their total compensation. You can no longer cry poor and abused. No one is buying that line any longer.

a-1566566241 May 08, 2018 09:33 AM
Union Workers Strike Against University of California

UC employees make great salaries, have great benefits, and receive great pensions. That's both unsustainable for the UC (and California taxpayers) and out of line with prevailing wages. When UC employees demand budget cuts to enable their higher wages I'll be the first to march with them and lead the chants: Keep the budget flat...reduce waste, reduce admin compensation, and maintain existing tuition rates!

Factotum May 07, 2018 10:21 PM
Union Workers Strike Against University of California

Janus vs AFSCME is now pending before the US Supreme Court - the UC employee unions may finally lose their iron grip to demand mandatory dues for anyone wanting to work at UC. About $1000 a year union membership dues per worker (your tax dollars) goes directly to the AFSCME union bosses. Taxpayers are funding these AFSCME jobs of those quoted in this article at $88K-$100K a year. How unfair is that?

Howard Roark May 07, 2018 08:50 PM
Union Workers Strike Against University of California

That's what happens when you work for the government too long; they start thinking they're making some great sacrifice and they can do so much better elsewhere. When was the last time any business around here had a strike over healthcare caps and increases in wages above the cost of living index? They can walk and keep walking; no new taxes.

Factotum May 07, 2018 04:52 PM
Union Workers Strike Against University of California

What do taxpayers pay the UC workers quoted in this article: Kathryn Lybarger PHYS PLT LABORER GARDENER LD Regular pay: $69,581.00 Overtime pay: $0.00 Other pay: $0.00 Total pay: $69,581.00 Total benefits: $26,261.00 Total pay & benefits: $95,842.00

Factotum May 08, 2018 01:28 PM
Union Workers Strike Against University of California

Pay attention to the mode of argument presented here - contrasting public employment with private industry employment, yet these arguments fail to present why public employment is so unique - it produces no independent revenues, depends solely on tax payer funding, and worst of all allows public employee union interest groups to sit on both sides of the bargaining table, Then taxpayers are sent the bill drawn up under the cover darkness to the taxpayers, now payable on demand. This is a good conversation to have and very timely, since the public sector compensation packages are now crowding out public services to taxpayers themselves. You want your pot holes fixed - can't do it because the employee pension and benefit demands now soak up available discretionary revenues. You will have to tax yourself if you want your roads fixed or schools repaired. This is how it looks from the taxpayer's side. Unions have never acknowledged the unique forces that come with public sector employment. Time is now to start that discussion.

a-1566566241 May 08, 2018 12:47 PM
Union Workers Strike Against University of California

It is highly unlikely that public funds have no role in providing you with your income. You just choose to differentiate between tax dodges and subsidized private sector work and public employees. This is because you apparently want to feel you have some skill greater than that of those you denigrate. But these people are performing a public service for reasons other than greed which motivates most private sector work. It is not just about "winning" and who dies with the most stuff.+

a-1566566241 May 08, 2018 12:42 PM
Union Workers Strike Against University of California

What nonsense. Just because someone works for the public they do not have to give up reasonable expectations of privacy that you, apparently, will not part with. Please disclose your income and your retirement resources and then we can see if you put your beliefs where your mouth is or if you are just another bully.

Factotum May 08, 2018 10:42 AM
Union Workers Strike Against University of California

How much to taxpayer pay Oscar Rubio: Oscar Leonel Rubio at UCLA FOOD SVC WORKER Regular pay: $41,615.00 Overtime pay: $652.00 Other pay: $0.00 Total pay: $42,267.00 Total benefits: $27,780.00 Total pay & benefits: $70,047.00

Factotum May 08, 2018 10:37 AM
Union Workers Strike Against University of California

Public compensation is public knowledge. These public facts have been kept hidden for too long and have allowed for the massive and unrelenting fiscal mismanagement we now find in this state. When choosing to work for public tax-payer funded institutions a primary requirement is public transparency and accountability. We the people must know what we are paying our own employees. Particularly when those same employees threaten strikes and disruptions to the social order that we have been paying for. You used to send us bills after the fact. Now we have finally learned what those bills will cost us and future generations. it is not a pretty picture at all But it happened under the cover of darkness, No more. Privacy and pettiness are the wrong arguments to make when you in turn demand we pay you whatever you want, sight unseen . A critical mass backlash is opposed to writing blank checks for higher education and getting so little in return. Make a better argument than maintaining the prevailing secrecy and endless demands for more of our own tax dollars.

Factotum May 08, 2018 10:44 AM
Union Workers Strike Against University of California

If you are using your tax dollars to hire and pay me, you have right to know what that full amount is and where any future promsied compensation money will be coming from.

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