SACRAMENTO -- Thirteen people involved in a contract dispute involving UC medical centers were arrested and cited with unlawful assembly Wednesday after disrupting a UC Regents meeting in Sacramento.

The protesters will be released from the convention center where they were taken into custody, said Steve Montiel, a spokesman for the UC Office of the President.

AFSCME 3299 announced Friday it had called a strike on May 21 and 22 for nearly 13,000 workers in the five UC medical centers, including one in San Francisco. UC officials quickly responded, saying the administration would seek a restraining order to block the strike.

In 2008, after the union announced a similar strike, the Superior Court of San Francisco issued a restraining order.

In his opening remarks Wednesday, UC President Mark Yudof launched into the issue, saying that the strike posed a threat to public health and blamed the union for holding out on its proposed pension reforms.

"Let me be clear that the university believes the strike is not responsible," he said.

Protesters countered, during public comment, that the strike was about the patients.

"You are diverting resources away from patient care and into the pockets of the executives that run this medical center," said union President Kathryn Lybarger.

Minutes later, as the regents had moved onto other business, came the cry: "Mic check!"


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The 13 protesters who were later arrested sat on the floor behind the regents and began chanting about patient care, joined by supporters who remained in the public seating area. The meeting came to a halt and began again in about 20 minutes.

The two sides are at odds over pay, benefits, working conditions, limits on contracting out jobs and pension reforms. The union has created a patient-protection task force in preparation for the walkout, its leaders said.

The union represents respiratory therapists, nursing aides, MRI technologists, licensed vocational nurses, surgical technicians, diagnostic sonographers, pathology lab technicians, hospital assistants, pharmacy technicians and other workers.

Sandy Kleffman contributed to this report. Follow Katy Murphy at Twitter.com/katymurphy.