UCSF Statement Regarding AFSCME Strike

November 19, 2013

On Nov. 8, we received notice from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union that its patient care and service workers intend to strike systemwide on Nov. 20. We also received notice from the California Nurses Association (CNA) that its employees intended to strike in sympathy, but UC and CNA subsequently reached a tentative agreement regarding a four-year labor contract and CNA further agreed not to join the strike.

We respect our employees, their right to representation and freedom of speech. However, this is the second time in seven months that AFSCME leadership has asked its members to strike, putting patient care in the middle of a labor dispute. The union should not use our patients as bargaining chips.

Media Interviews

For an interview tomorrow during normal business hours about the impact of the strike on patient care at UCSF Medical Center, please contact UCSF Public Affairs at: 415-502-NEWS (6397)

For an interview tomorrow about UC’s labor negotiations with AFSCME and related issues, please contact University of California Office of the President Media Relations: 510-987-9200.

There are more than 2,300 UCSF Medical Center employees, the majority of whom take care of patients and their families, who belong to the AFSCME patient care technical and service units.

In anticipation of a strike, we are working to reduce the number of our patients at the hospital by 25 percent.

Almost 50 surgeries, many of them non-elective, have been postponed. We have closed our adult transfer center to most patients.  This represents a reduction in transfers of about 65 patients needing specialized services at UCSF. We also have delayed or rescheduled some chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants, and infusions.

A strike will cost UCSF millions of dollars, money that would otherwise be used to support patient care as well as our missions of education and research.

The strike’s impact will extend beyond our medical center to our entire campus. More than 800 campus employees could participate in the strike. They include custodians, mail processors, shuttle drivers, food service workers, building maintenance workers, parking attendants, patient care assistants, dental assistants and cooks.  

After negotiating for more than a year, UC remains focused on resolving differences at the bargaining table and getting a fair multi-year contract for our employees. UC implemented its last offer for patient care workers in July and for service workers in September.  

Each employee at UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital contributes to some of the best patient care in the country, and the world. In return, we provide competitive compensation and benefits. To continue to provide world-class care and service, UC needs thoughtful engagement from union leadership.

UC San Francisco is the leading university exclusively focused on health. It is dedicated to transforming health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. UCSF includes premier graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy, a graduate division with world-renowned programs in the biological sciences, a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and two top-ranked hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.