By Jacob Bourne
On April 10, AFSCME Local 3299 staged a single-day Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike against University of California, charging the school system with unlawful interference with workers’ rights. The strikes took place at UC Centers across the state including at UCSF Parnassus Medical Center in San Francisco and the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.
“As UC’s employees have worked to voice concerns over outsourcing and income inequality over the last several months, the University of California has worked even harder to unlawfully silence those voices,” said AFSCME Local 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger. “Through illegal actions, UC has trampled state law and created an unwelcoming workplace that undermines workers’ ability to exercise their rights.”
Dozens of workers, medical students and labor advocates joined the line in front of the UCSF hospital in San Francisco decrying the University’s use of intimidation tactics, violence and other forms of interference in workers’ efforts to organize. The strike comes during stalled contract negotiations and in the aftermath of two 2018 incidents where striking workers and students were assaulted by a UC Davis manager in October and UC Berkeley police assaulted an employee who was engaged in protest.
Vallie Brown, District 5 Supervisor, spoke at the San Francisco rally criticizing the UC system for trying to inhibit workers’ right to organize saying, “UC can’t do this in San Francisco and you definitely can’t do it in my district.”
The ULP charge was filed by Service and Patient Care workers alleging that the University has broken the law by encouraging workplace retaliation, using threats of police citation and condoning violence against striking workers.
“This is an important strike,” Kim Tavaglione, campaign director for the San Francisco Labor Council told the crowd of workers. “This is about the heart and soul of California. This fight is about what California stands for, and you are on the right side.”
The Los Angeles rally took place at the Ronald Reagan Medical Center where LA Labor Federations President Rusty Hicks and California Labor Federation Executive-Secretary Treasurer Art Pulaski were expected to speak.
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