UC Irvine Skilled Trades Bargaining Update Aug. 16, 2021

Skilled Craft workers wear the uniform and do the work! While we appreciate the digital shout out, it doesn’t pay the bills!

What do we want? CONTRACT!

When do we want it? NOW!

On August 10, 2021, Teamsters 2010 Skilled Craft workers had heard enough at the table. We put on our walking shoes and buoyed by honks of support, held up our picket signs to publicly dramatize our bargaining demands. “Fair Contract,” “Fair Pay” and “No Contracting Out.”  Bargaining Team member Martin Hernandez shared his thoughts:  “Prices are going up and our wages need to do so as well. We will be bargaining for wage increases that reflect the cost of labor and the cost of living. We are not talking breadcrumbs.” To follow up our picket line, on August 12, we met with our ROC team to strategize our next set of actions. Stay tuned!

At the table, we proposed language on Recognition, Safety, Subcontracting, Definitions, Layoffs and Reduction in Time, New Employee Orientation, and Dues. Changes to some of the proposals were minor and others reflected the reality we face as skilled craft workers.

Subcontracting

Our bargaining team, tweaked AFSCME language which limits subcontracting, and proposed that the University stop contracting out our work as well. If the University agrees to our proposal, our numbers would increase over night and the University would save money.  Brian Maloney reminded management that more than 20 jobs have disappeared in the recent past.  Kevin Donovan, plumber, retired in July and days later UCI contracted out maintenance of autoclaves instead of training another plumber to pick up the work. 

Eric Kuder, Fire and Security System Tech, pointed out that sub-contractors often perform sub-par work, and the University then pays double to get it re-done correctly. “Recently we were called to Rowland Hall to clean up the contactor’s work and finish installing a security system that the contractor had been paid to install.  If the University had used our expertise in the first place, they would have saved money by having the job “one and done.” They would also have saved thousands of dollars in parts. This happens repeatedly.  No surprises.”

Over the past six months, Steve Huerta, Med Center steward, has worked with his manager at the Hospital to stop contracting out at the Med Center. Teamsters have been allowed to work overtime and saved thousands of dollars in the process. This is a winning proposal. Why hire from the outside when we can do the work better and less expensively.

Safety

UCI has proposed language to address training needs and legal requirements.  However, our Bargaining Team wants assurance that the University will fit-test for N95s and other respirators yearly, as required by law.

Recognition

Our Bargaining Team proposed the following new job classifications including: 

  • Ass’t Supervisor – Co-Gen Operator (the only trade that doesn’t have an Ass’t Supervisor)
  • Flooring Installer (take back work contracted out)
  • Fire Sprinkler Operator (as required by law)
  • HVAC Refrigeration (to recognize the skills and abilities that employees bring to the job)

UCI rejected our vision and our proposals. They prefer to keep the staff lean … and hire contractors to fill out our ranks. We are asking that UCI step it up and provide that #UCIPride.

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