UAPD holds second strike of the year after 25 years of peacetime, protesting lack of necessary financial information from UC Office of the President
The Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD) announced last week that doctors at UC Student Health and Medical Centers will be holding the second unfair labor practice strike since Jan. on all 10 UC campuses beginning this week.
For Northern California campuses, which include UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco and UC Merced, the strike will start today at 7:00 a.m., run through the weekend and end Monday morning. On the Southern California campuses, the strike will begin this Saturday morning and end next Wednesday. This past January’s doctors’ strike was the first U.S. doctors’ strike in 25 years. The union has taken action against the UC Office of the President and claims the UC has failed to provide certain financial information needed by the union to bargain fairly.
Charles McDaniel, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital, said the unfair labor practice strikes began after Nov. 2013 negotiations regarding doctors’ union contracts on wages and benefits failed to reach a resolution.
“This is the first time that the UC has had doctors in a union, so there has to be a first contract negotiated,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel said the purpose of unionization, the January strike and this week’s strikes are to draw attention to the UC’s alleged unfair labor practices, including what unions claim has been the UC’s withholding of budget information on student health centers.
“The union has enumerated a number of them, but there are things like requests for information from the Office of the President where we’ll ask for budgetary information that has to do with funding of student health centers, and they won’t give it to us,” McDaniel said.
In a recent press release, UCOP urged doctors not to participate in the strike in regard for the impact strike-related absences will have on student health care services.
“We urge our employees to come to work during the strikes and continue serving the students who rely on them for care,” the statement said. “Strikes that negatively impact our students will not resolve a labor dispute.”
According to the press release, UCOP has offered UC doctors the same wage proposals and benefits as non-represented UC employees and does not agree with the union’s claims that UCOP has engaged in unfair labor practices.
“The university and the union have made progress at the bargaining table and have reached tentative agreements on most non-economic issues,” according to UCOP. “UC has offered wage proposals and the same competitive healthcare and retirement benefits provided to non-represented UC employees … We disagree with the union’s claims that these strikes are about unfair labor practice charges. The union has refused to discuss these alleged practices at the bargaining table.”
According to UCOP spokesperson Shelly Meron, UCOP is taking appropriate steps to ensure students will have uninterrupted access to the medical services at campus health centers during the strikes.
“Staff that are not participating in the strike are going to be available at the student health centers … [but] some of the non-urgent appointments that are scheduled may have to be rescheduled during that period,” Meron said. “We’re also still encouraging our employees to come to work during the strikes. We do rely on them and the students do rely on them for care.”
A version of this story appeared on page 3 of the Thursday, April 9 print issue of the Daily Nexus.