Important Strike Information for Patient Care and Service Staff

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AFSCME, your union, is asking you to strike. Striking is serious, and it is important you understand the implications of participating in a strike. Please read the below information carefully.

A strike is unfair to patients and others.

A strike will impact patients, students and other UC employees. We think it is wrong for AFSCME to threaten services to patients and students as a negotiating tactic. As it has before, UC will seek legal protection for patients against an AFSCME strike — see below for details.

You are allowed to come to work — you do not have to strike.

No employee is ever obligated to strike, and unions are legally prohibited from threatening or coercing members in other ways to keep them from coming to work — see below.

A strike will cost you money. 

AFSCME’s May strike cost the average service employee approximately $500 in missed pay for participating in the union’s three-day strike.

You deserve a contract.

You deserve a contract that fairly recognizes your hard work and dedication. UC recently offered AFSCME guaranteed annual 3 percent pay increases and excellent benefits for all patient care and service employees for the next four years. Our offers also included a limit on healthcare cost increases and a one-time lump sum payment of $750 for all eligible employees. AFSCME turned down the offer.


Answers to key questions about strikes

Q. Will a strike negatively impact services to patients?
A. Yes. Whenever a union threatens to strike, UC medical centers must begin to take the appropriate steps. The hospital must consider limiting operations, which has an effect on both critical and elective care before, during and after a strike. Referrals from outlying communities may be lost indefinitely, damaging the public trust in our medical facilities. Critical trauma patients may need to be diverted to non-level I facilities, which reduces the quality of patient care. Also, noise from strikes can be very disturbing to patients.

Q. Is it illegal for AFSCME to threaten UC patient care with a strike?
A. 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 AFSCME-represented 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.

Q. Will I lose pay for participating in a strike?
A. Employees who are absent from work without prior authorization during a strike will not be paid for the absence. As is always the case, authorization for an absence from work (e.g., vacation leave) may or may not be granted, depending on operational necessity and without regard to the employee's reason for the requested leave.

Q. Do I have to strike? Can I be penalized by the union for not striking?
A. No employee is ever under any obligation to strike. Unions are legally prohibited from threatening or coercing members in other ways to keep them from coming to work. However, some unions have the right to levy fines against members, but not non-members, who choose to work during a strike, including a sympathy strike. A union member who does not wish to strike may want to contact her/his local union representative to confirm there will not be fines. Even if the union does levy fines, UC will not deduct union fines from employees’ paychecks.

Q. If I come to work during a strike, what pay and benefits will I receive?
A. If you come to work, you will receive the same pay and benefits as you normally do.