Facts about UC-AFSCME negotiations and AFSCME’s October 23-25 strike

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Compensation and benefits for UC service and patient care employees

UC believes in treating all employees — union-represented and non-represented — fairly, and works hard to provide employees with competitive pay, good health and retirement benefits, and a supportive work environment. UC has been negotiating with AFSCME for more than a year regarding new contracts for UC service and patient care employees. We’ve offered fair, multi-year wage increases and excellent benefits. The wage increases we’ve offered are consistent with those for other represented and non-represented employees, and would help ensure that pay for our service and patient care employees remains competitive.

Wages for UC service and patient care employees are at or above market*

UC offers employees wages that are competitive in the regional and national markets in which UC competes for talent. Current wages for UC patient care and service staff are at or above market for comparable jobs:

  • Pay for UC senior vocational nurses is 13 percent above market
  • Pay for UC phlebotomists is 7 percent above market
  • Pay for UC food service workers is 17 percent above market
  • Pay for UC senior custodians is 5 percent above market

*UC salary range midpoint compared to market 50th percentile

Examples of average annual salaries for
specific UC patient care employees**
Examples of average annual salaries for
specific UC service employees**
$101,951 — Respiratory Therapist
$93,298 — Radiology Technologist
$70,816 — Sr. Vocational Nurse
$56,703 — Phlebotomist
$51,524 — Hospital Unit Service Coordinator
$47,310 — Building Maintenance Worker
$46,329 — Groundskeeper
$39,925 — Senior Custodian
$39,219 — Food Service Worker

**Source: October 2017 UC data

Generous UC benefits add significantly to total employee compensation; are among the best offered

In addition to market-competitive wages, UC provides employees with excellent benefits that are more generous than those of many employers, and can increase an employee’s total compensation package by as much as 40 percent.

Medical

  • UC offers a full range of medical plan choices, at more reasonable rates than those of many employers.
  • We offer union-represented employees the same health care benefits at the same rates as those for other UC employees, including other union-represented employees.
  • UC’s premiums are structured so that lower-salaried employees pay substantially less for medical coverage than higher-salaried employees — a typical UC service employee pays just $19/month ($228 annually) for individual Kaiser HMO coverage, while the average American worker pays more than $430/month ($5,200 annually) for individual coverage.

Retirement

  • Since July 2016, UC has been offering newly hired non-represented employees a choice between a traditional pension plan and a 401(k)-style plan, making UC’s retirement benefits among the most generous available — few employers offer this kind of choice, or a traditional pension.
  • Unions representing UC clerical staff, lecturers, librarians and campus physicians have subsequently agreed to UC’s choice program.
  • Offering employees a choice does not affect or threaten the accrued pension benefits of employees in UC’s pension plan.

UC’s recent implementation of wage increases and benefits for UC service employees

After more than a year of negotiations regarding new contracts for UC patient care and service employees with repeated attempts at settlement, in recent months UC separately offered AFSCME final settlement proposals for both employee groups that included guaranteed pay increases and excellent benefits. The offers also included a limit on healthcare cost increases and a one-time payment of $750 for all eligible employees. AFSCME rejected the offers. With no agreements in sight, and all legally required impasse procedures complete, UC decided to exercise its legal right to implement wage increases and benefits for patient care and service employees. The following chart compares UC’s settlement offers that AFSCME rejected, with the pay increase and benefits UC is implementing:

  UC Settlement Offers (rejected) UC Implemented Terms*
Wages Annual 3% across-the-board wage increases for all patient care and service staff for the next 4 years, plus a one-time, lump sum payment of $750 for all eligible employees upon contract ratification. A one-time 2% across-the-board wage increase for all patient care and service workers.
Health Benefits The same excellent health benefits as other UC employees, at the same rates as other UC employees with similar salaries, plus a cap of $25 for any monthly premium increases for UC’s Kaiser and Health Net Blue & Gold plans. The same excellent health benefits as other UC employees, at the same rates as other UC employees with similar salaries.
Retirement Benefits Current employees will see no change in their earned pension benefits. Future hires will choose between a traditional pension plan and a 401(k)-style plan. Current employees will see no change in their earned pension benefits. Future hires will choose between a traditional pension plan and a 401(k)-style plan.

*Note: The pay increases and the rates for healthcare benefits UC is implementing are for the 2018 calendar year — UC and AFSCME will need to negotiate any additional increases. UC is not implementing the 3% annual raise, the $25 cap on monthly health insurance premium increases, or the $750 lump-sum payment from its final settlement offers — those elements were in exchange for a multi-year contract, and UC is disappointed that AFSCME leaders chose to reject UC’s settlement offers.

AFSCME’s October 23-25 strike — threatening patient care is inappropriate and illegal

Despite what we believe have been very fair offers, for the second time in six months AFSCME leaders are asking UC service and patient care employees to strike October 23-25, and UC employees represented by other unions are being asked to strike in sympathy with AFSCME.

In UC’s view, it is highly inappropriate for any union to threaten services to patients and students with a strike as a negotiating tactic. Under state law, strikes that a pose a substantial and imminent threat to vital public services like patient care are illegal. UC believes it would be considered illegal for certain UC patient care staff to strike because it would pose an imminent threat to public health and safety and improperly withhold health care from the public.

Previous court orders against strikes: As with previous strikes, UC will seek legal protection for patients against AFSCME’s October 2018 strike. In 2008, AFSCME asked UC patient care employees to strike. At the request of the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), a judge issued a restraining order against the strike. PERB also issued a complaint against AFSCME for bad-faith bargaining and for encouraging a strike that would clearly endanger the public's safety. Courts also barred certain UC medical center employees from striking in 2013, 2014 and 2018.