August 5, 2011
“I just wanted a very unvarnished, unscripted slice of what it really is like at the state hospital. And I wanted free access to the wards,” said Allen, a first-term Democrat who has helped lift the veil on conditions in the hospital system in the wake of a psychiatric technician’s strangulation at Napa last fall. — From LA Times article Lawmaker makes quiet visit to Napa State Hospital
See also Assemblyman Allen works shift at Napa State in Napa Valley Register
June 21, 2011
Recently Los Angeles County Psychiatrists and Dentists (BU 325) completed surveys that demonstrated their desire to have a stronger voice in Los Angeles-area politics. As a result, the UAPD Executive Board voted to create a program for collecting voluntary political contributions from Bargaining Unit 325 members, which can be used in support of local causes.
In the past, UAPD has used money donated to the union’s Political Action Committee (PAC) to protect pensions, stop privatization of doctor jobs, and resist infringements on our scopes of practice. UAPD PAC money also supports the campaigns of California candidates who have shown a willingness to support doctors’ causes. Historically, it has been the State-employed doctors who have made the bulk of the PAC contributions, in large part because a simple system for collecting contributions has long been in place for state workers. Creating systems to increase PAC participation of county doctors makes more PAC money available for county-level candidates and issues. The Los Angeles County BU 325 doctors are leading the way.
Read more about: Alameda County
, Alameda County Medical Center
, City and County of San Francisco
, County & Salaried Doctors
, Gardner Family Health
, Legislative Advocacy
, Los Angeles County Physicians
, Los Angeles County Psychiatrists and Dentists
, Sacramento County
, San Joaquin County
, San Mateo County
, Santa Barbara County
, Santa Clara County
, Santa Cruz County
, Ventura County
June 21, 2011
Safety Now!, the coalition of unionized Department of Mental Health (DMH) workers that was organized at Napa State Hospital after the murder of Psychiatric Technician Donna Gross, officially became a statewide movement at an energetic meeting held at the SEIU offices in Sacramento on May 4th. The meeting was attended by UAPD doctors from every DMH hospital in the state as well as dozens of other union workers.
Safety Now! coalition members are now calling on DMH to immediately follow through on the commitment it made to hire more security and direct care staff in the DMH hospitals. An April meeting between State Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley and Napa workers resulted in her lifting the statewide hiring ban from DMH hospitals. Secretary Dooley’s visit came on the heels of a disastrous week for DMH, in which two Napa State Hospital patients died, OSHA issued a $100,140 fine for “serious” and “willful” violations of workers’ safety at Napa, and NPR’s Ina Jaffe did a three-part, nationally broadcast story detailing workers’ safety concerns.
In coming weeks Safety Now! members plan to do coordinated actions to continue addressing the safety problems in DMH hospitals. The staff at Metropolitan Hospital were the first to ramp up their activism in the wake of the meeting, holding a successful “march on the boss” on May 17th to present a statement of their demands to DMH management.
Coalition members have also been speaking to legislators about the safety issue and giving testimony on DMH-related bills. Senators Noreen Evans and Sam Blakeslee and Assembly Members Michael Allen and Katcho Achadjian have all sponsored bills this session that, if passed, will help reverse the epidemic of violent attacks on staff and patients within the Department of Mental Health.
UAPD continues to examine what impact the governor’s proposed budget might have on the Department of Mental Health. In addition to authorizing an additional $9.5 million for security teams at three hospitals, the budget proposes closing down the Department of Mental Health and shifting responsibility for state hospitals to a newly created department with that focus.
May 25, 2011
In a poorly researched, poorly argued report released in April, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) alleged that some BU 16 employees at Mule Creek State Prison were not working full 40 hour work weeks. Even before the report was made public, UAPD Labor Representative Zegory Williams was aggressively enforcing the UAPD contract and defending the reputation of Mule Creek doctors before the OIG, DPA, and CDCR.
After multiple meetings with representatives from the DPA, OIG and CDCR, Williams has successfully settled a grievance which guarantees:
1. No doctor will be disciplined based on data the OIG gathered in its Mule Creek investigation.
2. While the Mule Creek scanner will remain in place as a safety device, all data it collects will be expunged every 21 days, making it useless as a timekeeping device.
3. The DPA agreed that doctors cannot be subject to any timekeeping mechanisms and have the right to representation in meetings that may result in discipline.
4. The OIG wrote a letter that clarified that during any of its so-called audits, “if the interview questions involve and employee’s personal involvement, including their conduct or behavior with a process or procedure, the employee has the right to decline to be interviewed without any repercussion or consequence.” Read the Letter from OIG to DPA and UAPD
In addition to Williams’ clear victory in the case, there was another bit of happy news: the OIG is on Governor Brown’s short list of departments to eliminate as a cost-cutting measure this year. Good riddance!
May 12, 2011
Are you a Facebook user? Visit the Safety Now! Facebook page for full coverage of the fight to improve conditions at Department of Mental Health hospitals. Remember to “Like” the page to receive regular updates from the Safety Now Coalition on your Facebook wall.
April 28, 2011
With so much uncertainty surrounding public employees, and with a budget
crisis that just won’t go away, it’s important that public sector workers
have some stability in their jobs and in lives. For most UAPD members, one
constant that can be relied on is CalPERS retirement. The CalPERS Board of
Administration is currently electing new members, and UAPD is encouraging
its members who participate in CalPERS to vote for candidate Michael Bilbrey
for the at-large seat. Read more …
April 18, 2011
Facing intense pressure from the media and unions like UAPD, the Department of Mental Health is undertaking the first step towards improving safety at its facilities by agreeing to increase the number of clinical and security staff. Dianna Dooley, California’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, visited Napa State Hospital last week before announcing that the statewide hiring ban no longer applied to DMH facilities. The announcement came on the heels of a disastrous week for DMH, in which two Napa State Hospital patients died (one from an injury sustained last month), and OSHA issued a $100,140 fine for “serious” and “willful” violations of workers’ safety.
News of the Staffing Increase is covered by the Los Angeles Times
Napa Valley Register Op-Ed demands transparency from DMH.
NPR adds a Part 3 to its series on Napa State Hospital and DMH.