U of California faces labor impasse

The University of California has hit an impasse with its patient care support workers after five months of negotiations. The workers, which include transcribers, patient billers, surgical technicians and respiratory therapists, belong to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which represents such workers at nine university campuses. AFSCME has filed an official request with the state asking it to declare the talks stalled and hire an independent mediator. 

Throughout the talks, AFSCME has been pushing for a wage hike, arguing that UC's wages are so low, they're inhibiting the university from making hires--which forces it to hire more-expensive temporary workers at $66 to $70 an hour. AFSCME's wage proposal would cost UC medical centers $75 million over the length of the current contract. The university, for its part, says while it has made various wage proposals, AFSCME has rejected all of them to date.

To learn more about the dispute:
- read this East Bay Business Times piece

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