The University of California’s largest union reached a tentative contract agreement with the university for its 16,000 patient care workers last night, less than a week after the union reached an agreement for a contract for its service workers.

The road to coming to an agreement was not smooth — AFSCME workers went on strike several times during the contract negotiations over alleged unfair labor practices. Ida Kazerani / Daily Nexus

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 (AFSCME 3299) patient care and service workers have been without a contract for just under two years — reaching an agreement with the UC is a “testament to our members’ commitment,” AFSCME President Kathryn Lybarger said in a press release sent out by the union. 

“This has been a long and hard process that required both sides to seek common ground and work in good faith,” Lybarger said. “But it has brought important issues to light about the growing problem of income inequality, the fight for what’s left of America’s middle class and how large public institutions can uplift the communities they serve.” 

The UC similarly welcomed an agreement with the union. The contracts were “achieved through the hard work and good faith efforts of the AFSCME and UC negotiating teams,” UC Board of Regents Chair John A. Pérez said in a press release sent out Tuesday afternoon.

He added that the contracts “provide hardworking UC employees with the benefits and protections they deserve, and it moves UC closer to being the kind of employer we need to be.”

The terms of the contract for patient care workers include: 

  • A 6% across the board increase plus an experience-based increase; 
  • A one-time $500 payment to per diem and limited employees who worked at least 400 hours in 2019; 
  • Annual 3% across-the-board increases between 2021 and 2024;
  • Annual 2% experience-based increases between 2020 and 2024; 
  • A one-time payment of $3,000 for all eligible full-time employees; 
  • A second one-time payment of $1,000 for all eligible full-time employees in 2021; 
  • A one-time payment of $1,000 for employees who have or will achieve 20 years of service for the UC while the contract is active. 

The contract, along with directing that new employees receive the same pension benefits as current AFSCME-represented employees, also continues to prohibit layoffs as “a result of subcontracting decisions and creates career employment opportunities at UC by placing additional restrictions on UC’s ability to contract out service unit work.” 

The road to coming to an agreement was not smooth — AFSCME workers went on strike several times during the contract negotiations, most recently in November 2019 over alleged unfair labor practices. The union filed six complaints against the UC on Nov. 1, alleging that the university had cut costs by contracting with private companies to do work that otherwise would have been done by union workers. 

AFSCME patient care members will vote on whether to approve the contract in early February 2020. 

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