May 21: Join the strike line!
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Strike Frequently Asked Questions (Print PDF version)
  1. Why are we striking?
    The UPTE HX unit is striking with and in support of AFSME’s patient care workers because their issues are righteous ones and we are very familiar with having to fight for the same issues – fair wages, a secure retirement and staffing levels and other conditions that promote quality patient care. It's definitely in our interest for AFSCME to secure a good contract. This is a sympathy strike with AFSCME workers for 24 hours on May 21, 2013. United we will win! Except for the essential personnel that we have identified, no one should go to work at any time on the day of the strike.

  2. Is it legal to participate in AFSCME’s strike?
    Yes, it is legal for us to sympathy strike in support of our colleagues in the AFSCME Patient Care Technical Unit. AFSCME’s Service workers are also striking in sympathy. UPTE’s HX unit has given UC a 10-day notice to allow the University to make arrangements to cover the work the same it is covered on holidays like July 4. Check the UPTE website for the location of the picket line you will attend.UC is asking the Public Employment Relations Board to seek a restraining order. This is to create confusion and doubt but we are confident that we will win this legal argument.

    UPTE's legal letters to UC:
     a. Cease and desist threatening employees for participating in the strike:

        UCSD | UCLA | UCI | UCSF

     b. Strike interrogations: UCLA

  3. Wouldn’t a strike hurt the work/our patients we are dedicated to serving?
    AFSCME's strike is heavily focused on fixing conditions at the medical centers. Employees are chronically overworked and understaffed, and experienced colleagues often leave for less stressful, more lucrative positions elsewhere. Add in the lesser 2-tier pension and the need to push retirement back 15 years because retiree healthcare is unaffordable and you can see the situation will only worsen. The loyal workers who remain are left with more weekends, holidays, and nights to work as they waste time training new hires that don’t stay. Patient care suffers. AFSCME has made clear they are striking not only for themselves but also for better patient care. We support better patient care and that's another reason to support this strike.
  4. Does UPTE have strike benefits?
    UPTE has a strike fund, and provides a benefit for strike participation of $60/day. A minimum of 4 hours on the picket line is required to get your strike benefit. You need to check-in and check-out at the picket line.

  5. Will I be fined if I cross the picket line?
    UPTE does not have a policy of fining members who cross picket lines. However, for a successful strike and to preserve our post-employment benefits, we need you to participate! If you go into work you are hurting yourself as well as your co-workers on the picket line.

  6. Don’t we have a No Strike article in our contract?
    Yes, that article says we can’t strike during the life of our contract. But our contract expired February 17, 2012.

  7. Will there be any retaliation by management for participating in the strike?
    It is against the law and we will protect you every step of the way. Any strike initiated by this union will be legal. Any retaliation by UC will be illegal and fought against. There have been very few, isolated retaliations against striking workers in the past by UC.

  8. I’m essential to the care of my patients, should I still strike?
    UPTE has been working diligently with our attorneys, PERB and UC on this very issue. We will let you know soon if there are particular employees who should not strike--we have made a few offers to the University about particular titles where a few essential workers may report even though they have the right to strike. UC is asking for more than we have offered, and PERB will decide in the end whether any additional employees should be added to the list. So far, it is clear only that a small number of CLS's will supplement supervisors, and the same will occur for various titles at SF General Hospital and also among Poison Control Pharmacists and Hospital Radiation Physicists. In addition, we are creating a Patient Protection Task Force that could respond to any unforeseen emergent staffing need. Should a major emergency occur, such as an earthquake, the strike will be cancelled and members will immediately return to work.

  9. UC is saying the strike is illegal, what should I do?
    UC is going to throw everything it can at you to scare you and try to get you to not participate in this strike action. UPTE is working diligently on the legal front to ensure that this strike is legal. If you have specific questions please let us know, we are happy to try to answer any of your questions and concerns. Also, please forward to UPTE any memos, flyers, emails, etc. you receive from management regarding the strike.

  10. When does the strike start and end?
    UPTE’s sympathy strike will begin at 4am on Tuesday, May 21st and end at 4am on Wednesday, May 22nd. If the strike begins while you are at work, you should continue working your shift. If your shift begins during the 24 hour strike period, you may participate in the strike even if your shift ends after 4am on Wednesday May 22nd.

  11. Why only strike for one day when AFSCME is striking for two days?
    Because the HX unit is relatively small compared to AFSCME’s Patient Care and Service Workers units, we want to concentrate our forces on just the one day in support of AFSCME's righteous and important issues.

  12. Where will the strike take place?
    Picket lines will be set up at all five UC medical centers: Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. Additional locations with large numbers of AFSCME and HX will also be included, such as Santa Monica Hospital and Mt. Zion hospital. If you work at one of the non-medical center student health centers, check the UPTE website to see if there will be a picket line at your location on strike day. Information on exact picket locations will be provided soon; but if you still aren’t sure where to go on strike day, contact your local.

  13. What will happen on the picket lines?
    Once you arrive at the picket site, you should sign in with the UPTE person there so that you can receive your strike pay. You must also sign out to receive strike pay. You will be given picket signs, a chant sheet, t-shirt, etc. We will not block doors, stop patients, visitors, other staff, etc. from entering the buildings. We will provide coffee, water, snacks and lunch.

  14. I’m being pressured by my supervisor to work that day, what should I do?
    You should not be pressured, made to feel guilty or retaliated in any way for a legally called strike. This is your right.

    UC’s management has final responsibility for covering shifts. We have given UC a legal 10-day notice and are working with them to determine numbers, classifications and location of the strike day essential personnel. If you are being harassed or retaliated in anyway, contact UPTE immediately.

  15. Can my supervisor ask me if I am going to strike?
    If your supervisor asks if you are going to strike, you can say “yes” or “I’m not sure”. You do not have to engage in a discussion or feel pressured to say “no”.

  16. If my shift ends at 7am and my supervisor wants me to stay to cover the next shift, do I have to stay?
    When your shift is over you are entitled to leave as you normally would. If you routinely report off, do that with your supervisor if no one else is available. If you routinely just clean up your area and leave, you are entitled to do that. Walk out and join the picket line!

  17. Can I call in sick or use vacation time on strike day?
    Remember that sick time can only be used for legitimate medical uses, which has nothing to do with a strike, and UC typically denies use of vacation on strike days in any event. If you are really sick, you should call in as you normally do. You will most likely have to get a note from your doctor for the day.

  18. When and where do I report?
    Everyone signs up for a 6 hour shift with your zone contact or on our website. You should report on time for your shift and sign in immediately when you arrive at the picket site.

  19. Will UC dock my pay and my benefits if I go on strike?
    When we go on strike we're not at work, so UC will not pay us for that day. It is illegal for UC to retaliate against any striking worker by trying to dock ancillary pay, benefits or other pay for going on strike.

  20. If I am not scheduled to work on the day of strike, do I need to come to the picket line?
    We are asking all UPTE HX members to come to the picket line whether or not you are scheduled to work. If your supervisor tries to call you into work even though you are not scheduled to work that day, tell them "I am unavailable. I will be participating in the Union strike."

If you still have questions, contact us.