As UC’s Board of Regents prepares to convene in Santa Barbara next week, a Superior Court judge on Friday issued a temporary restraining order to head off a strike by 11,000 university employees statewide, planned to begin Monday. The regents are scheduled to begin a three-meeting sojourn at UCSB on Tuesday, and the court order could fuel protests by union employees and their supporters on campus.
The university went to court in San Francisco to block the planned strike by members of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) , who are involved in increasingly bitter negotiations with representatives of the university system. The conflict involves both service and health care employees, including emergency trauma technicians, radiologists, and dialysis patient technicians.
Superior Court Judge Patrick Mahoney, in granting the order, said there was “an immediate danger” that the strike could endanger public safety. Earlier this week, the state agency responsible for collective bargaining with public employees issued a complaint against the union for bad-faith bargaining and for “failing to give adequate notice of a planned strike,” according to a statement issued by the UC Office of the President.
Representatives of the union could not be immediately reached for comment.
The labor strife marks a rocky beginning for Mark Yudof, the former president of the University of Texas, who was recently named by the regents as UC’s new president. Next week’s regents meeting in Santa Barbara will be his first as president.