The doctors, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants employed by the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics are the latest to join UAPD’s growing clinic sector. The group will begin negotiating its first union contract in the coming months.
California workplace safety officials have fined Coalinga State Hospital more than $20,000, alleging in part that the psychiatric facility, which mainly treats sex offenders deemed too dangerous for community release, failed to keep staff members safe from assault and has an inadequate employee alarm system. –Los Angeles Times
Instead of fixing the problems that led to the citations at all five state hospitals, DMH is spending time and money contesting Cal/OSHA’s findings. The department has filed an appeal of the Napa and Metropolitan citations, and is expected to do the same for the citations issued against the other three hospitals. State-employee unions including UAPD have already received legal-party status in the Cal/OSHA appeals process, so they can try to hold DMH accountable for its inaction. A hearing on the Metropolitan citations is scheduled for May 10 – 11, 2012.
UAPD continues its aggressive political and media campaign to stop the proposed ratio change and prevent the layoffs of any treatment staff working within the Department of Mental Health hospitals. To that end, UAPD continues to support Assembly Member Michael Allen’s treatment staff ratio bill (AB 2397), which would make the 1:25 (for long term units) and 1:15 (for acute or admissions units) ratios mandatory. UAPD’s legislative staff is also exploring ways to protect DMH ratios during the development of next year’s state budget. Next week UAPD staff and doctors will be participating in several legislative hearings regarding the DMH staffing issue.
As part of the Safety Now! coalition, UAPD also protested ratio changes during a rally at Metropolitan State Hospital on March 21. The rally garnered excellent press coverage for the issue.
UAPD encourages DMH doctors to take a few minutes to complete this vacancy survey to help the Union identify positions that could be filled by BU 16 doctors in the event of a layoff. Because of the large number of contractors working in the system, UAPD remains hopeful that even if layoffs occur, no doctor who wants to continue working for DMH will be forced to leave.
UAPD will continue its aggressive campaign to protect staff to patient ratios in all DMH facilities, and to prevent these layoffs from occurring.
Assemblymember Roger Dickinson believes that fundamental rights, including priority over private-sector contractors in filling permanent, overtime and on-call positions, need to be codified so that they aren’t subject to the whims of whatever governor or particular agency manager who happens to be in charge.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has begun implementing Wave 2 of the AB 109 staff reductions. They have mailed seniority score verification letters to all those who are working in impacted counties and classifications. They plan for this round of layoffs to go into effect on October 30, 2012.
While UAPD is doing everything in its power to prevent further layoffs of dentists, the Union must also take steps to mitigate the effects of a layoff if one should occur. Part of that process is identifying every open position that can be filled by a bargaining unit doctor. Because vacancy information provided by the State is not always reliable, UAPD asks members to tell us what they see happening around them.
Please take a moment to fill out this survey about possible dental vacancies in any CDCR facility.
UAPD will meet and confer with CDCR on the subject of layoffs; UAPD staff, elected leaders, and members from the affected facilities will attend. UAPD will update members once the first meeting is scheduled.
CDCR posts layoff information on the CDCR website. They also take questions about the layoff via email (CDCR.RPRSHelpDesk@CDCR.ca.gov) and telephone (877-297-5599). If you have further questions, or need assistance, please contact your UAPD Labor Representative.
Local state legislators have sent a letter to Department of Mental Health requesting a moratorium on employee layoffs at state psychiatric hospitals, including Napa State Hospital.
In their March 8 letter, the state legislators told Department of Mental Health Director Cliff Allenby that “massive layoffs” didn’t make sense at a time when the state hospitals have serious safety problems.
Dickinson, a former state lawyer whose Sacramento district has a higher concentration of state employees than any other Assembly member’s, argues that his bill would take “full advantage of employee expertise.”
State employees cost less and perform at a higher level, Dickinson said, compared with contractors who charge more for their services.
“My experience is that employees of an organization tend to be more dedicated than contractors,” Dickinson said. “Plus, management has more direct and discreet control (over state employees).”
Read full story in The Sacramento Bee.
On February 21, 2012 the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on State Administration held an oversight hearing on the contracting out of State work. UAPD President Dr. Stuart Bussey presented testimony about why contracting out of doctor services presents a problem for all Californians. Dr. Bussey presented evidence that:
Even with full benefits and a State retirement contribution of 18% there is still a monetary savings of about 29% that comes from using civil servant doctors.
He also argued that:
Another troubling State liability regarding contracted employees is that they could demand to be granted retroactive service credits, benefits, even pensions, if they were to seek legal reclassification as civil service employees.
Dr. Bussey presented a list of solutions that included passing the UAPD-sponsored Public Employee Bill of Rights (AB 1655), directing more effort towards recruitment and retention of civil servants, and limiting the circumstances and time period for which a contractor can be used.
Download Dr. Bussey’s Testimony (pdf)
“One of the goals for the Public Employee’s Bill of Rights is to mirror the government’s guarantee for a swift trial to its citizens. Another important goal of the bill is to reduce contracting out and achieve the most efficient business model for our cash-strapped state,” says Dr. Stuart Bussey, MD, JD, President of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists.
Read Press Release: Bill of Rights by Assemblymember Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento)
Read article in Sacramento Bee