The University of California and the union representing more than 8,300 service workers announced a tentative, strike-averting contract agreement on Thursday that includes a raise of more than 13.5 percent over four years.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 has called off a strike scheduled for March 3-7. Members — who include janitors, maintenance workers, gardeners and food-service workers — still have to vote to ratify the deal.
The agreement calls for a 4.5-percent raise as a signing bonus within 60 days of the contract’s ratification, followed by a 3-percent across-the-board raise in each of the next three years.
Many members also will receive a 2-percent step increase in 2014, 2015 and 2016, making their wage increase more than 19.5 percent.
Members currently receive an average salary of $37,000 per year plus benefits equal to 36.5 percent of salary, according to UC. The union has said 99 percent of service workers qualify for public assistance.
The agreement also freezes health care costs for lower-salaried employees, includes greater job protections from layoffs and use of outside contractors, and sets pension and health care programs contributions at 9 percent of pay.
No other UC union has received a freeze on health care costs. Members with Kaiser, for example, will continue to pay $35.21 per month for a family compared to $392 per month for a worker with an equivalent job in the California State University system, according to UC.
“We have finally reached a historic agreement with UC that will pull thousands of its full-time employees out of poverty and begin to rectify staffing practices that needlessly put our members and the people they serve at risk,” union president said Kathryn Lybarger in a news release.
The deal, she said, “honors the contributions that career service workers make to this institution, as well as UC’s responsibility to build ladders to the middle class.”
Said Dwaine Duckett, UC’s vice president of human resources, in a news release, “It is good to have this bargaining wrapped up with a deal on its way to our valued service employees. We worked hard to bridge gaps on the issues. Ultimately, both sides chose compromise over conflict.”
UC and AFSCME have been in talks for more than a year. The union held strikes in May and November.
The union also represents about 13,000 patient care technical employees, who remain without a new contract. The sides were to sit down Thursday and Friday.
— Reach Cory Golden at email@example.com or 530-747-8046. Follow him on Twitter at @cory_golden