UC regents protest

Technical health workers at the five UC medical centers are threatening a two-day strike next week, and a group of them disrupted the start of the regents' meeting Wednesday with a sit-down protest that led to 13 arrests. (Larry Gordon / Los Angeles Times / May 15, 2013)

SACRAMENTO -- Thirteen people were arrested Wednesday at the UC regents meeting during a sit-down protest by healthcare workers threatening to strike at the system's medical centers.

The University of California regents left during the protest while UC police cleared the room, handcuffing the protesters and leading them out of the hall at the Sacramento Convention Center.

They were arrested on suspicion of unlawful assembly.

The union that represents about 13,000 patient-care technical workers, AFSCME 3299, voted last week to authorize the two-day strike for May 21 and 22. But UC is seeking a court injunction to forbid the strike at its five medical centers, saying it would harm patients.

One of the sticking points is UC’s insistence that employees pay more toward pensions, as other unions in the UC system have agreed to do.

The union contends UC is reducing hospital staff while hiking pay for top hospital executives.

Among those arrested Wednesday and charged with a misdemeanor count was Kathryn Lybarger, AFSCME 3299 president. All protesters were expected to be quickly released after the citation. 

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larry.gordon@latimes.com