UCI Medical Center Workers Prepare for Strike Vote; UC Says Union Ducking Pension Reform

Thirteen thousand patient care technical workers from the University of California's $6.9 billion medical system, which includes UC Irvine and UCI Medical Center in Orange, will start taking strike votes April 30.

After 10 months of negotiations and more than three months of post-impasse proceedings, the vote has been authorized for April 30-May 2, according to local 3299 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

"For almost a year, we've bargained in good faith and worked to secure a contract that puts patient safety first and honors the principle of basic fairness to the frontline care professionals at the foundation of the UC medical system," reads a statement from AFSCME 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger.

"Instead of agreeing to these basic standards, UC administrators are asking frontline care providers to subsidize chronic understaffing, growing management bloat and unprecedented executive excess at UC's taxpayer supported teaching hospitals. That's something we simply will not do."

The most recent agreement between UC and its patient care assistants, vocational nurses and radiology technicians expired on Sept. 30.

"The union has refused to agree to UC's pension reform started in 2010 to address under funding of the plan," Shelly Meron, a spokeswoman in the UC Office of the President, told the Sacramento Business Journal, adding that 14 other bargaining unites have agreed to the changes, along with non-union staff.

Adding in service workers, AFSCME 3299 represents more than 22,000 at the UC's 10 campuses and five medical centers.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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