Dwaine Duckett, vice president of UC Human Resources, issued the following statement today (Feb. 20, 2014) regarding AFSCME’s announcement that it will ask patient care technical and service employees to participate in a five-day strike March 3-7, 2014:

We are deeply disappointed that even as contract negotiations continue, AFSCME leadership has chosen to take this path, which hurts our students, patients and the UC community in a number of ways. This is patently unfair to the people we serve.

At a cost to UC of about $10 million a day to ensure that critical services for students and patients continue safely, these strikes waste precious university resources and only serve to interfere with reaching a fair contract and getting our employees the raises they deserve and have been waiting too long for.

We have offered AFSCME very good contract proposals: Patient care technical workers would receive a wage increase of 20 percent over four years and service workers 16 percent over the same period. In addition, the university has offered to freeze employee health care costs – a benefit not offered to any other union – and the same retirement benefits that other unions have. AFSCME rejected our proposals and continues to demand more.

We have asked AFSCME leadership to bargain in good faith. Yet in announcing another strike even as the university prepares for our bargaining session next week, the union has again chosen conflict over compromise.

I urge AFSCME leaders to come to the table ready to reach a fair contract, as we are.