UC workers demanding new contract, hit picket line in strike

UC Santa Barbara workers gather on campus

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) - Thousands of University of California workers hit the picket line Wednesday morning across the UC system, including at UC Santa Barbara.

The union representing 14,000 professional and technical employees, UPTE-CWA 9119, walked off the job demanding changes to a long-awaited contract. AFSCME Local 3299 announced that UC's Service and Patient Care Technical workers would be joining them. Together, the 2 labor unions represent roughly 39,000 workers across the UC system.

"For nearly 2 years, UC has refused to recognize the value of its workers and has instead worked to worsen income inequality," says AFSCME Local 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger. "Thousands of UC workers represented by UPTE-CWA recognize that the University's efforts to flatten wages, cut benefits, and eliminate middle-class career pathways are hurting families, and our members are proud to strike with them in solidarity."

UC's labor problems have escalated since 2017, when the California State Auditor reported that UC's Office of the President was paying excessive salaries to administrators, amassing a $175 million secret slush fund, and engaging in systematic efforts to replace its career employees with private outsourcing companies that pay their workers less.

Last May and October, AFSCME-represented Service and Patient Care Technical workers conducted the two largest strikes in the University's history.

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