Union representing 25,000 UC workers strike over outsourcing

A union representing 25,000 University of California workers across 10 UC campuses, five medical centers and other clinics and labs went on strike Wednesday over the outsourcing of jobs. 

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 filed unfair labor charges, accusing the University of California of secretly expanding its outsourcing to low-wage contractors and avoiding negotiations with its own employees.

“Outsourcing isn’t good, it isn’t fair to us employees who have been here for a long period of time,” said Ericha Wright, a UCSF employee on strike.

Union leaders argue outsourcing eliminates middle class career pathways and imposes lower wages, more inequality and more risk of employer abuse.

Wright is a single mom of five worried about job security.

 “I need my job,” she said.

UCSF Health Chief Operating Officer Sheila Antrum said she hopes both sides can come to an agreement. Nov. 13, 2019

The University of California Office of the President countered in a statement that despite union concerns about contracting, “The number of AFSCME-represented employees has actually grown by double digits in the past five years. UC’s contracts with AFSCME protect employees from displacement due to contracting, and no employee can be terminated as a result of a subcontracting decision.”

UCSF Health Chief Operating Officer Sheila Antrum said she hopes both sides can come to an agreement, “For our staff all of this we feel the impact for them as well as an impact from an economic standpoint. We want them to get back to work as fast as possible.”

UC is offering a guaranteed 3 to 3.5-% raise each year and the same health insurance rates and pension benefits as other employees, but picketers said it’s not about the money or benefits and they won’t stop until changes are made to protect them.