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UC union authorizes what could be third strike in a year

UnionsJobs and WorkplaceLabor Disputes and StrikesAFSCME

Members of the union representing the university of California's 21,000 service workers and patient care employees have voted to authorize another possible strike -- which would be their third walkout in less than a year.

The food workers, custodians, respiratory therapists and others at UC’s 10 campuses and five medical centers overwhelmingly authorized their leaders to call a strike if need be, officials of AFSCME Local 3299 said Friday.

No date or duration of a potential strike has been set by the union, which has been locked in lengthy and tense negotiations with UC administrators over such issues as employee contributions to pensions and safe levels of staffing.

The union struck for two days in May and held a one-day walkout in November.

“Our members seek a fair settlement, and this vote makes it clear that UC’s final offer fails to meet that standard,” union bargaining team member Jose Mendez said in a statement.

University officials have criticized the latest strike threat, saying that the previous walkouts cost UC millions in hiring replacement workers and lost revenue.

They noted that most other UC unions have signed new contracts and said that AFSCME 3299 needs to compromise more.

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larry.gordon@latimes.com

Twitter: @larrygordonlat

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