UC employee strike prompts thousands of medical appointment cancellations

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ByAmy Hollyfield KGO logo
Monday, May 7, 2018
UC employee strike prompts medical appointment cancellations
Over 50,000 workers are on strike at UC medical facilities and campuses across California to demand gender and racial equality.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Over 50,000 workers are on strike at UC medical facilities and campuses across California to demand gender and racial equality.

At UCSF, 300 surgeries have already been canceled. More than 9,000 workers, including custodians, food service, security and parking attendants are expected to be joined by 15,000 workers who sympathize with their cause. That will include patient care technical workers.

The University says the union is asking for a nearly 20 percent pay raise over three years and the university added they would not be able to justify such a raise to taxpayers.

University officials said this disruptive demonstration will not change the University's economic situation. "The biggest issues on the table are there's a rising income racial and gender inequality both within their unit, but within UC more generally. A lot of it is being driven by the outsourcing of jobs," said Todd Stenhouse, AFSCME spokesman.

RELATED: Thousands of patients and employees affected by UC strike

The University of California's largest union will go on strike for three days, affecting tens of thousands of patients and employees throughout California.

"All of these are just massive disruptions that are taking place and we have to be ready for what is still remaining, which is some services will continue. So we need to be ready to provide care as safely to all who come through our door," said Sheila Antrum, UCSF Health.

The union said UC pays women and people of color less than what they pay white men for the same jobs.

The hospital has brought in and trained replacement workers who will handle emergencies along with labor and delivery during the strike.

UCSF hospital administrators said more workers showed up to work than they expected Monday morning, so they were able to treat all patients who needed help. They even performed a liver transplant while workers loudly picketed outside with drums, noisemakers and bullhorns.

Nurses are expected to join the strike on Tuesday to show support for the workers. This is a three-day long strike happening at five medical centers and 10 UC campuses across the state that is expected to last through Wednesday.

Hospital officials said for people to check with their service provider before heading to an appointment to make sure it hasn't been cancelled.