UC hospital workers overwhelmingly authorize strike

But date and duration of possible strike not yet determined

More than 97% of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) 3299 members working at all ten University of California (UC) medical and student health centers have voted to authorize a strike. The union says it represents almost 13,000 University of California patient care technical workers including respiratory therapists, nursing aides, MRI technologists, licensed vocational nurses, surgical technicians, pharmacy technicians, security guards, hospital workers and assistants, and others. "UC decided to put profits before patient care and it is UC that has the power to stop this strike," says the union. The date and duration of the strike have not been set.

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Such a small turnout for a strike vote does not mean that the membership as a whole wants a work stoppage. But if those who didn't vote are taken out on a strike and don't want one, they have nobody but themselves to blame.

The UC, as we often comment, has its priorities upside-down. They pay princely salaries to top administrators, and often (or usually) don't get the sort of performance the pay should require. There is the overall problem of administration bloat with now well-entrenched bureaucracies that are highly resistant to trimming. These folks in the hospital trenches really have to work hard, are expected to deliver their very best every day, and many do not earn enough to have a worry-free life. Hardly seems fair to them, or to the patients either.

Visduh: I agree. The UC system has in recent years paid its administrators too much, and paid its workers -- such as those at its hospitals -- too little. These practices hardly serve as a model for students. Best, Don Bauder

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