May 23, 2013
Members of UPTE-CWA Local 9119 walk the picket line at UC San Francisco to support striking AFSCME workers.
Below: CWAers on the picket line at UC San Diego.
UPTE-CWA health care professional members went on a full-day strike Tuesday in support of AFSCME's patient care technical workers at University of California hospitals across the state.
Workers joined AFSCME Local 3299 picket lines at all five UC medical centers, raising awareness about fair wages, a secure retirement and staffing levels and other conditions that promote quality patient care. UPTE-CWA members know this fight all too well – and it's in their best interest that AFSCME wins a good contract.
"The strike doesn't mean we are not interested or care about our jobs, our position," said Michele Freeman, a clinical social worker at UC San Diego. "It's because we are here and we like working for the UC system that we know we are important to them and they need to recognize that."
The two sides have been negotiating a new contract for nearly a year.
On Tuesday, workers called for fairness. UC's decision to lay off employees, speed up work and underfund staff only serves to hurt both workers and patients. Though the five medical centers made more than $500 million in profit last year and the state has increased its funding, UC still wants to slash retiree benefits. And despite UC's hollow cries of being broke, the number of officials making more than $1 million each year has quadrupled.
Workers are demanding real reform. That means caps on executive pensions and electing union representatives to governing boards of our pension and retiree health benefits funds to ensure accountability and transparency.
Check out this UPTE-CWA video of members explaining why they joined the strike line.