UC strikes deal with university nurses and librarians

Graphic by Brandy Coats
Graphic by Brandy Coats

After months of negotiations, two contract settlements were finally reached last week between the UC and its employees. The first: a five-year contract with 350 university librarians that includes a new salary structure and health benefits. The second: a tentative four-year deal with the 11,700 university nurses who are represented by the California Nurses Association (CNA).

The agreement with the university’s librarians was reached on Nov. 15 after 18 months of negotiations between the UC and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) — a union that represents about 1.5 million members nationwide. The deal includes a new salary scale for librarians as well as medical, dental and vision care that is equal to the general UC employee population.

“We are pleased to have reached a fair and financially sustainable agreement with our librarians, who play an important role in our academic mission,” said UC Vice President of Human Resources Dwaine B. Duckett after the deal was announced.

As for the university’s nurses, the UC also announced a four-year labor contract with the CNA that will cover more than 11,700 employees who work in UC medical and student health facilities. This deal includes a 4 percent “across-the-board” salary increase to the nurses every January for the next four years. In addition to that, the contract will guarantee health and pension benefits to the UC’s nurses. The contract also prohibits workers from going on strike during the duration of the contract.

One union still looking to strike a contract deal with the UC: the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME 3299).

Like AFT and CNA, AFSCME 3299 has been negotiating with the university for months, but to no avail. When the deal with CNA was reached, AFSCME 3299 took notice and congratulated the California Nurses Association for reaching a “fair” contract.

“It is indeed heartening to see UC finally matching CNA’s good faith efforts to reach compromises that are both financially sustainable and honor the Nurses (sic) invaluable contributions to UC Hospitals and Health Clinics (sic),” stated AFSCME 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger. “We would hope that UC will afford other bargaining units — including the service workers and patient care technical workers represented by AFSCME 3299,” she concluded.

Despite not being able to reach a contract deal with AFSCME 3299, the UC has been able to strike notable deals with other unions that represent UC employees. The contract agreements with CNA and AFT mark the second and third time the UC has finalized negotiations with its workers in the last six weeks. On Oct. 22, the UC also agreed on a contract with 250 UC officers represented by the Federated University Police Officers Association.

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