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UCSF to reschedule surgeries as worker strike looms

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A three-day workers strike across the University of California system will begin Monday, prompting surgeries at the Mission Bay and Parnassus campuses of UCSF to be rescheduled. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Tens of thousands of workers including healthcare professionals at UC San Francisco are slated to begin a three-day strike on Monday over stalled contract negotiations with the university system.

The strike will impact five medical centers and 10 campuses across the state with nurses, surgical technicians, security guards and janitors represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299.

The AFSCME announced the strike April 26 after failing to reach a contract agreement with the UC, which offered the union 3 percent wage increases each year for the next four years. The union, which is asking for six percent annual pay hikes, is also striking over alleged pay disparities.

“We’ve bargained in good faith for over a year to address the widening income, racial, and gender disparities that frontline, low-wage workers at UC are living every day,” union President Kathryn Lybarger said in a statement. “Instead of joining us in the effort to arrest these trends, UC has insisted on deepening them — leaving workers no option but to strike.”

In response to the strike announcement, UCSF plans to reschedule all surgeries in the operating rooms at the Mission Bay and Parnassus campuses and in some cases at the Orthopedic Institute, according to a letter to staff from Sheila Antrum, senior vice president and chief operating officer for UCSF Health.

“We recognize that the next few weeks will be disruptive to our patients, as well as staff and caregivers,” Antrum said. “We will not compromise on our commitment to providing safe care, even if that means rescheduling treatments and procedures.”

As many as 10,800 UCSF employees could strike, according to the university. AFSCME is being joined in the strike by colleagues from the University Professional and Technical Employees Local 9119 and California Nurses Association between Tuesday and Thursday.

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