State of California Doctors


UAPD Lobbies Against UC Pension Attacks

April 22, 2016

On Wednesday April 20, UAPD joined AFSCME 3299, the California Nurses’ Association, and the Teamsters in a united lobbying effort against a proposed attack on the University of California pension. Ten teams of employees and staff met with 54 legislators and key staffers, explaining the problem and urging them to sign a letter demanding that UC’s proposition 2 funding for fiscal year 2016-2017 be contingent on elimination of the 401(k) opt-out.  Since the Assembly Speaker, Senate President, and Lt. Governor all signed letters opposing the opt-out, we are hopeful that with continued pressure, the legislature will agree to compel UC to do the right thing.

UAPD members will remember that the Coalition of UC Unions strongly oppose UC president Janet Napolitano’s Task Force’s recommendation to introduce caps on pensionable salary for all employees hired on or after July 1, 2016. You can read the emails describing those efforts and see UAPD President Stuart Bussey’s testimony here: January 15 email and January 29 email.
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First Day Update: State BU 16 Bargaining

April 21, 2016

April 21st was the first day of Bargaining Unit 16 negotiations.  After introductions, both sides agreed to the ground rules that will govern this round of bargaining.

Prior to the start of negotiations, Chief Negotiator Nereyda Rivera requested several types of information that the team will need to conduct bargaining.  For example, we requested the number of vacancies by classification, department and institution, the names of doctors affected by the PEPRA pension cuts, and various kinds of leave reports.  Today Principal Labor Relations Officer Candace Murch provided much of the information that we requested, and the team will review what was provided for completeness.  The team also requested additional information from the State at this meeting.

Both sides agreed to roll over three articles for which we have no new proposals.  Bargaining will continue next week at the UAPD office in Sacramento.  Stay tuned for future updates.

State BU 16 Bargaining Slated to Begin

April 16, 2016

Negotiations for the next State Bargaining Unit 16 contract are scheduled to begin on Thursday, April 21st.  Meetings will take place on a weekly basis to start, and updates will be sent to UAPD members regularly.

More than 500 UAPD members took the time to complete the bargaining survey.  The responses are being closely reviewed by the UAPD team and will be used to craft proposals.  Doctors also wrote tens of thousands of comments, too many to include here, detailing specific areas in need of improvement.  Some of the most common demands in the survey were:

  • Salary increases sufficient to recruit and retain high quality doctors
  • Parity pay for those classes of State doctors that have fallen behind their peers
  • Protect the right of State doctors, as professionals, to work free of timekeeping devices
  • Protect the right of State doctors to exercise professional judgement
  • Resume Medical Officer of the Day (MOD) in departments where it was discontinued
  • Protect and expand alternate work schedule options
  • Increase CE/CME reimbursement, protect doctors’ right to choose activities, and clarify travel time language
  • Do more for new employees, starting with greater transparency about salary and benefits during the hiring process.  Take steps to offset the PEPRA pension cuts.
  • Call — Increase on-call pay, define scope of call, and ensure that carrying an EHR-enabled laptop is not a requirement
  • Limit State to reasonable use of telemedicine and telepsychiatry, and introduce language to protect bargaining unit doctors doing that work
  • Protect unit jobs against contracting out

The UAPD team will give voice to these important issues, and many others, over the coming months. Your 2016 Negotation Team consists of:

Ron Lewis, M.D. – CCHCS/CDCR
Mubashir Farooqi, M.D. – DSH
Brian Kennedy, D.D.S. – DHCS
Pitr Conroy, M.D. – DDS
Keith Quint, M.D. – DSS
Stuart Bussey, M.D., J.D., UAPD President
Nereyda Rivera, Chief Negotiator
Zegory A. Williams, Executive Director
Sue Wilson, Business and Communications Director
Glynnis Golden Ortiz, Labor Representative


Meet President Saunders at Tang Center

April 13, 2016

AFSCME President Lee Saunders traveled around the Bay Area talking to union members about their jobs. President Saunders met with University of California Student Health Doctors, UAPD President Stuart A. Bussey, M.D., and UAPD staff at the International House on the UC Berkeley Campus. This was a great opportunity to bring doctor issues directly to the President of a 1.4 million member union.  UAPD is a proud affiliate of AFSCME, which provided a great deal of support during UC doctors strike.

New SEPA Board Elected

March 29, 2016

The State Employed Physicians Association (SEPA) nominating committee nominated a slate of doctors to be the SEPA Officers and At Large Board of Director members for a two year term.  SEPA is an advisory Local Union for the Union of American Physicians and Dentists.  Because no further nominations were submitted, the following candidates have been elected to the SEPA Board of Directors.

Officers – Elected

  • President-Elect Erika P. Wartena, M.D. (DSH)
  • Secretary Pitr G. Conroy, M.D. (DDS)

In accordance with the constitution and bylaws, President-Elect Melissa D. Primus, D.D.S., will become SEPA President in April.

At Large Board of Directors – Elected 

  • Lynne S. Alper, M.D. (UC)
  • Hani A. Benyamin, M.D. (DSH)
  • Robert A. Bitonte, M.D., J.D. (DSS)
  • Marcia Ehinger, M.D. (DHS)
  • Kay Gamo, M.D. (CSU)
  • Paul Malarik, Jr., M.D. (CDCR)
  • Keith Quint, M.D. (DSS)
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Progress Made on Pension Overcharge Issue in BU 16

February 8, 2016

Last year Union members alerted UAPD that the State has been deducting too much for the employee pension contribution for some State of California BU 16 doctors (who joined CalPERS after January 1, 2013 and are thus subject to a cap on pensionable salary).  You can read the original email to get a full description of the problem.

To resolve the problem, UAPD staffers and a Bargaining Unit 16 physician met with Richard Gillihan, Director of CalHR, who also sits on the CalPERS Board.  UAPD also discussed the problem with the State Controller’s Office, whose office programs payroll deductions and issues state employees’ pay.

As a result of UAPD’s efforts, significant progress has been made on fixing this serious problem.  Since November, hundreds of bargaining unit doctors have received refunds for their over-payments, totaling more than 5 million dollars.  The SCO has agreed to create an automated process to stop salary deductions above the PEPRA cap in the future.  Their plan is to begin work on the project in July 2016 and complete it by July 2017.  The SCO will continue issuing refund checks while the automated system is being built.

However, there are still additional issues that the union is addressing.  The union requires a more transparent accounting of how the refund checks were calculated for each affected member, and needs external verification that all affected members have received refunds.  The union filed a class action grievance over these issues today. We also believe that the State has a responsibility to create the automated system on the tightest possible deadline, which should be shorter than one year.

EHR System in CDCR — Meet and Confers Ongoing

December 14, 2015

UAPD has met several times since the beginning of October with CDCR and CCHCS on the implementation of the Electronic Health Record System (EHRS) in that Department. So far the project has been piloted at the following facilities: Folsom State Prison, Folsom Women’s Facility, Central California Women’s Facility, California Institution for Women, and in some administrative sites. UAPD members have expressed concerns about many issues related to the EHRS: the mandatory use of a lap-top (meant to be taken home); the increasing burden of performing call and increasing work hours; inadequate compensation; large numbers of incorrect medication orders for patients; as well as other issues. A number of UAPD members have taken part in the Meet and Confer meetings to date: Dr. Gabriel Borges (FSP), Dr. Ronald Lewis (ISP), Dr. Vitalicia Romero (CCIW), Dr. G. Bedford (CIW), and Dr. J. Chapman (CIW).

UAPD will be passing proposals to CCHCS and CDCR that are meant to address the concerns of UAPD members as well as the quality of care being provided to inmates. UAPD will continue to keep you updated on developments in the meet and confer process and the roll-out of the EHRS pilot system at institutions across the state.

Grievance at Mule Creek State Prison

December 9, 2015

UAPD has challenged management practices at Mule Creep State Prison. Specifically, UAPD is opposing MCSP’s directive that Bargaining Unit 16 employees sign-in and sign-out of work. MCSP already has an electronic key card ID system that makes a manual log-in unnecessary. Initially, MCSP management indicated that BU 16 employees should not only use a key card and sign-in/out of the facility manually, but also email supervisors upon arrival/departure to work and check-in face to face with supervisors. MCSP dropped the directives to email supervisors and have face to face check-ins after UAPD opposition, but still maintains a sign-in/out log. UAPD has elevated this grievance to the third level and will continue to fight MCSP management on this issue.

State Must Fix CalPERS Contribution Error

October 2, 2015

Some UAPD members who are subject to the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (PEPRA) notified the Union that the CalPERS employee contributions that are being deducted from their paychecks are too high.  It is quite likely that this problem affects more than the handful of doctors who noticed it on their paychecks.  UAPD has been investigating the problem and taking the first steps to resolve it.

Who is Involved?

Doctors who joined CalPERS for the first time after January 1, 2013 (and were not eligible for reciprocity with another California public employer) are subject to changes made by PEPRA.  For just these employees, pensionable salaries are capped at $117,020 (for those participating in Social Security) or $140,424 (for those not covered by Social Security).  Employees who fall under PEPRA may be paying too much in CalPERS contributions.
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UC Doctors Win Historic First Contract

July 20, 2015

After 16 months of negotiations that included 53 bargaining sessions and two strikes, doctors at the UC Student Health Centers settled their first contract with the University of California in June.  Doctors ratified the agreement on July 20th.  While it was a long and difficult negotiation, the team won language that will significantly improve conditions for all UC doctors.  All doctors’ pay will increase by at least 7.1% within two weeks of ratification.  Moreover, the doctors succeeded in making their first raise retroactive to last year, regaining the money that was on hold while negotiations were ongoing.   The contract also set a new minimum salary and brought all doctors up to that level, with retroactivity to last year.  UC had long resisted setting a minimum salary for current employees and making the initial raises retroactive.  However, doctors showed a steadfastness throughout this long process that convinced UC they had no choice.

In addition to the economic improvements, the TA contains language to help doctors navigate the increasingly difficult campus health environment.  For one, the large number of “contract” physicians who were working half-time or more have now been made permanent “career” employees with all the benefits and protections that includes.  As unionized workers, all doctors will have protections against unfair discipline or dismissal, as well as a strong grievance procedure to make sure all of the contract terms are enforced.  Doctors will also be able to call regular meetings with health center management to discuss problems before they get out of hand.  All in all, the Agreement is a very positive first step for student health and counseling center doctors.

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