Strike Information for Employees - May 16, 2019

AFSCME, which represents employees in the Service Unit (which includes custodians, food service workers, bus drivers, grounds workers) and the Patient Care Technical Unit (which includes radiologists, medical assistants, pharmacy technicians and opticians), notified the University that it would conduct a one-day unfair labor practice strike on Thursday, May 16, 2019. UPTE (University Professional and Technical Employees), which represents employees in the Health Care Professional Unit (which includes counseling psychologists, social workers, pharmacists, laboratory scientists and occupational health technicians), the Research Professional Unit (which includes staff research associates and museum scientists), and the Technical Unit (which includes technicians, editors, lab assistants, scene technicians, business technical and support analysts, among others), notified the University would strike in sympathy with AFSCME on May 16, 2019.     

AFSCME and UPTE have informed the University that the employees in these units will go on strike commencing at 12:00 am, Thursday, May 16, 2019. Employees who are already working shifts that began before 12:00 am will continue to work through their regularly scheduled hours and will not leave mid-shift. The strike will end at 11:59 pm, Thursday, May 16, 2019. Striking employees who were scheduled to work shifts commencing prior to 11:59 pm will remain on strike through the end of their shift and will not report to work mid-shift.

 

Below are answers to some important questions.

If you have additional questions, please contact campus Labor Relations at (510) 643-6001 or labrel@berkeley.edu.

 

1 - Are the other unions that represent University employees going on strike?
No. The collective bargaining agreements of those unions have “No Strike” articles. In those articles, the unions agree that neither the union nor the employees it represents will engage in strikes, stoppages or interruptions of work, or other concerted activities, including sympathy strikes, which interfere directly or indirectly with University operations. The following bargaining units have contracts with “No Strike” articles that are in effect: Clerical Unit, the Student Health Physicians Unit, the Skilled Crafts Unit, the Non-Senate Instructional Unit, the Registered Nurses Unit, the Police Officer Unit and the Postdoctoral Scholars Unit.

2 - What will happen during the strike?
Employees participating in the strike may choose to not show up for work, join a picket line on campus, pass out informational flyers, and/or participate in other activities organized by the union(s).

3 - Are non-represented campus employees expected to come to work on May 16, 2019?
Yes. All campus employees are expected to be at work as scheduled and to perform work as assigned. Offices will be kept open, courses will be taught, and the campus will provide normal or equivalent service. If an individual encounters a picket line, the law protects her/his right to cross it. The Berkeley campus has experienced employee strikes in the past. In all cases, picketers have been very committed to their points of view, but also respectful of the views of others.

4 - Will the picketers or striking employees block me from coming to work?
At Berkeley, picketers have always been committed to their position, but also respectful of the rights and views of others. Pickets are lawful so long as they are peaceful, conducted only on public property (i.e., sidewalks), do not block access to the facility, do not interfere with the normal course of business, and do not prohibit non-striking employees from working. Non-striking employees should not invite or engage in any exchanges, which might inflame the situation. If an employee feels they are  being harassed or prevented from working by picketers or striking employees, the employee should notify her/his supervisor or campus Labor Relations office at (510) 643-6001 or labrel@berkeley.edu.

5 - If I'm a dues-paying member of the union, am I obligated to participate in the strike? Can I be penalized for not striking?
No employee is under any obligation to strike. Unions are legally prohibited from threatening or coercing members in other ways to keep them from coming to work. 

6 - What will the University do if employees strike?
If any employee does not report to work as assigned, the University will presume - absent medical certification - that her/his absence from work during a declared strike period is strike- related.

Authorization for an absence from work (e.g., vacation leave) may or may not be granted, depending on operational necessity and without regard to the employee's reason for the requested leave.

Employees who are absent from work without authorization during a strike will not be paid for the absence.

7 - If I come to work, what pay and benefits will I receive?
If you come to work, you will receive the same compensation and benefits as you did before the work stoppage.

8 - If I don't come to work as a result of the strike, will I continue to receive my pay and benefits, and may I use compensatory time or vacation for the time that I am miss?
Employees will not be paid for absences due to participating in a strike. Employees who participate in a strike will not be allowed to use compensatory time or vacation leave to make up for the pay they lose because of striking. Benefits that are based on the percentage of time worked during the pay period may be affected by unauthorized absences.

9 - Am I permitted to talk to my supervisor or unit manager about any of this?
Absolutely. You may also contact your labor union.

If you have additional questions, please contact campus Labor Relations at labrel@berkeley.edu.