After 5 strikes, thousands of health, research and technical workers ratify new UC contract

After more than two years of bargaining and five strikes, roughly 16,000 health-care, research and technical workers at the University of California voted to ratify a new labor contract with their employer, according to the union’s website.

Union leaders said the contract provided raises totaling 29-30 percent over five years, and they touted protections on parking fees, health-care premiums and overtime pay.

UPTE-CWA President Jamie McDole thanked the membership for their continued engagement and dedication.

Greg Wine, president of the Davis Local 6 chapter of UPTE-CWA, said: “We hope what we have won with our statewide actions will help with recruitment and retention of our highly skilled and specialized staff. Our ... technical, research and health professionals, including IT workers, pharmacists, social workers and researchers, may be more likely to make a career at UC and that is good for every community we serve.”

Asked whether other unions were envious of the deal that UPTE-CWA struck, Wine said, on the contrary, members of the California Nurses Association, Teamsters and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees are all happy for UPTE.

“A win for one is a win for all,” he said. “Leaders from all the UC unions are still meeting as a union coalition and have developed a very strong bond.”

Claire Doan, a spokesperson for the UC Office of the President, said there would be no further comment beyond the statement made when the deal was reached.

In that news release, Peter Chester, the UC’s executive director of labor relations, stated: “We are very pleased to have reached these agreements with UPTE, giving our employees the competitive pay and excellent benefits they so deserve. These employees make significant contributions to UC’s mission and we deeply appreciate their hard work and dedication.”

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Cathie Anderson covers health care for The Bee. Growing up, her blue-collar parents paid out of pocket for care. She joined The Bee in 2002, with roles including business columnist and features editor. She previously worked at papers including the Dallas Morning News, Detroit News and Austin American-Statesman.