UC and its largest union ratify labor agreement
The labor union representing the largest organized group of University of California employees has ratified a new contract, raising hopes for a period of labor peace at the 10-campus university, officials said Monday.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 3299, which represents more than 20,000 workers, including hospital assistants, custodians and mail processors, approved the contract after lengthy disputes with the university over employee pension contributions and retroactive pay raises. Previous agreements were suspended when UC sought to increase employee contributions for pension and health benefits, triggering protest rallies by the union that sometimes interrupted UC regents meetings.
Under the new contract, patient care workers will receive a 3% pay raise retroactive to January, and another 3% for next year. Service employees will get a 3% raise retroactive to the start of this month and another 3% next October. Their contributions to retirement funds will be 3.5% of pay retroactive to July 1 and 5% of pay starting July 1, 2012. The minimum wage under the contract will be $13.70 an hour this year and $14.42 an hour next year.
Julian Posadas, union executive vice president, said the contract will provide “protection for the lowest-wage workers. So we are happy with that now.”
Dwaine Duckett, UC’s vice president of human resources, was also pleased. “Moving forward, we hope we can find ways for UC and the union to join forces and work together on issues that are of mutual interest,” he said in a statement.
-- Larry Gordon