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After a year-long struggle for justice, 11,500 patient care workers at the University of California – members of AFSCME Local 3299 – have overwhelmingly ratified an agreement on a five-year contract that raises wages an average of 4 percent annually and achieves many other hard-fought goals.

The pact – retroactive to October 2007 – covers licensed vocational nurses, respiratory therapists and other patient care workers at UC’s five medical centers. It will raise wages by about 20 percent over five years. It establishes at all UC campuses the first-ever statewide minimum wage of $14.50 per hour by the end of the contract period.

Workers also will be able to bargain collectively on pension and health care benefits for the first time, and they will receive a guaranteed longevity based step system, which rewards workers for their experience and skills. continue reading

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