Today at Berkeley Lab

Next Week’s UC Strike and How It Might Affect the Lab

Last week the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Service (SX) bargaining unit notified the University of California of its intent to conduct a three-day UC-systemwide strike beginning at 4 a.m. Monday, May 7.

During the strike, picketing may occur on UC Berkeley property or at Berkeley Lab gates. The strike may cause service disruptions, gate restrictions, shuttle bus route changes, and limits on new leave requests. See the details below, and watch for updated information about the strike by email and here in TABL over the next several days.

Approximately 61 Berkeley Lab employees are members of AFSCME; they include custodians, groundskeepers, material handlers, truck drivers, laborers, document control coordinators, duplication bindery operators, and plant assistants.

After more than a year of bargaining that began in March 2017, the University and AFSCME have been unable to reach a labor agreement. Wages, health and welfare benefits, retirement and savings plans, and other issues are at the core of the negotiations. AFSCME’s previous labor agreement with UC expired on June 30, 2017.

On April 6, UC made its last, best, and final offer, and AFSCME rejected that offer. On April 19, AFSCME announced that its membership had voted to authorize a strike. On April 26, the union announced its intent to strike on May 7.

In addition to the AFSCME strike, two other UC bargaining units representing employees at Berkeley Lab are planning to conduct two-day sympathy strikes beginning May 8: the University Professional & Technical Employees (UPTE) Technical (TX) bargaining unit, and the UPTE Research Support Professionals (RX) bargaining unit.

The approximately 135 UPTE TX employees include accelerator operators, animal techs, research techs, engineering techs, graphics designers, health and safety techs, radiation techs, telecommunications techs, and photographers at the Lab’s main campus, the Joint Genome Institute, the Lab’s Potter Street location, and the Joint Bio Energy Institute. The approximately 139 UPTE RX employees at the Lab include research associates and assistants at the main campus and the Joint Genome Institute.

All employees, both represented and non-represented, and their supervisors are receiving additional information about their options during a strike.

In addition, all supervisors at the Lab have been asked to notify employees (represented and non-represented) that they must abide by their planned/regular work schedules during the strike, and that new leave requests for May 7-9 will not be approved except in special circumstances. Employees who call in sick during the strike will be asked to provide a doctor’s note when they return to work. Represented employees who are members of bargaining units participating in a legal strike have a right to strike and should not be notified. (Note: This item has been corrected.)

An email account has been set up for employees who have strike-related questions or concerns: [email protected]. This account will be monitored by a team from Human Resources, Facilities, and Protective Services, who will respond to queries in a timely manner.

Watch for details — including gate restrictions, shuttle bus route changes, and other information — by email and in TABL.