LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Doctors at University of California student health centers announced Friday that next week they’ll go on strike.
This slated walkout comes as doctors negotiate their first contract with the UC system since unionizing in 2013, according to the Union of American Physicians and Dentists.
On Jan. 27, doctors walked off the job for a day – it was the first strike involving doctors in the United States in 25 years. Doctors at UC schools in Southern California will walk out for five days starting April 11 and those at UC schools in Northern California will start on April 9.
UC officials wanted it to be clear that these are doctors at student health centers, not UC medical centers and hospitals.
“We are disappointed that the union has chosen to stage strikes for the second time in three months instead of negotiating to resolve the remaining issues,” said Dwaine B. Duckett, UC’s vice president for human resources, in a statement. “UC is taking appropriate steps to ensure our students will have uninterrupted access to the medical services they need at our campus health centers during these strikes.”
“We urge our employees to come to work during the strikes and continue serving the students who rely on them for care. Strikes that negatively impact our students will not resolve a labor dispute.”
According to the union, the one-day labor action in January “was not enough to convince UC to bargain in good faith.” The most critical issue in the negotiations is UC’s failure to provide financial information, which the union needs to bargain fairly on behalf of the doctors, union officials said.
“For more than a year, UC said it could not afford to make the changes needed to attract and retain student health center doctors,” UAPD president Dr. Stuart A. Bussey said. “Recently they admitted they can afford to improve health care on campus, they just choose not to.
“We continue to push hard for this financial information because we believe UC has enough resources to improve student health care,” Bussey said. “They can make student health a priority.”
The union said it has filed “multiple” unfair-labor-practice complaints against UC with the Public Employment Relations Board since contract negotiations began more than a year ago.
Duckett denies the strike is about alleged unfair labor practices and says the union has refused to discuss those claims at the bargaining table.
According to Duckett, UC and the union “have made progress at the bargaining table and reached tentative agreements on most non-economic issues.”
He continued: “We urge union leaders to be reasonable and focus their energy on reaching a fair agreement.”
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