Employees protest statewide against UC hospitals’ planned layoffs amid pandemic

SAN FRANCISCO — These University of California hospital employees want to be heard loud and clear by their administrators.

They gathered here at the UC San Francisco Parnassus campus on June 24, as part of a statewide day of action against the planned layoffs of UC hospitals’ lowest-paid workers.

“A lot of our Filipinos, kababayans, are getting notices; in San Diego, there’s 163 layoff notices already sent out and 90 in UC Irvine,” said Agnes Suarez.

AFSCME Local 32-99 is UC’s largest employee union.

They find it hypocritical that while UC hospitals generate big revenues, get hundreds of millions of dollars in federal coronavirus relief funds, and more than $10 billion in unrestricted cash reserves — administrators still want to proceed with layoffs.

“They’re failing as a major employer that has a responsibility to move the economy forward. They are failing in their responsibility to serve California students and patients. And failing the families of these people getting laid off,” said Kathryn Lybarger.

These protesting employees said they feel betrayed especially after working through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When they started the shelter in place and this pandemic the executives were the lobby with their signs ‘you’re heroes’, ‘you’re essential’ but when the going gets tough we are the ones getting eliminated or laid off.”

ABS-CBN News reached out to UC representatives to get their side of the story. They have yet to respond.

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