At UCLA, the walkout coincided with the final day of a five-day strike by about 600 skilled trade workers, such as electricians, plumbers and carpenters. The skilled trade workers and the administrative staffers are both represented by Teamsters Local 2010, although the groups’ contracts are being separately negotiated.
Teamsters officials warned that the strike could affect some campus operations, particularly at medical centers, and advised people to reschedule non-essential appointments. UCLA officials said, however, that they had a plan in place to “ensure that our hospitals and clinics remain open and fully operational and continue to serve the medical needs of our patients and the community.”
Union officials contend its skilled trade workers have gone four years without a raise and the university has refused to negotiate wages covering past years “despite admitting to budgeting for those unpaid wages.”
UCLA officials countered that the university’s most recent contract offer included an immediate 12.5 percent pay hike, a 2.25 percent signing bonus and 3 percent salary increases in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, which would bring the average compensation to nearly $100,000. UCLA has been negotiating since Aug. 30 with the union, which represents about 600 skilled-trade workers at the university.
According to the Teamsters, the clerical and administrative workers are striking over the university’s “numerous violations of state law and unfair labor practices, including the university’s failure to bargain in good faith, unlawful delays in bargaining and threatening retaliation against workers for engaging in union activities.”
The union claims many of the workers suffer from “hunger or food insecurity,” while the vast majority are “paid too little to afford the basic necessities of life.”
University officials said those workers have an average salary of $47,300, which is nearly 20 percent higher than the state average of $39,200. They have been offered an 18 percent raise over six years, along with health and retirement benefits, according to the university.
University officials called the walkout “an unlawful, pre-impasse economic strike.”
“UCLA respects the contributions of its workers and shares in their desire to come to agreements on fair and competitive contracts in the near future,” according to a university statement issued last week. “This resolution, however, will be achieved only if all parties engage in respectful and productive dialogue at the bargaining table.”
—City News Service
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