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Tacoma Doctors Join UAPD

October 21, 2016

Tacoma – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will soon certify a new union for doctors working at Auburn Medical Center (AMC) in Tacoma, Washington.   At the vote count conducted on October 13 at the NLRB Region 19 offices in Seattle, a strong majority of the ballots cast by AMC doctors were in favor of the union.  The new union will include a range of specialists including hospitalists, pediatricians, surgeons, and OB/GYNs.

This is believed to be the first time a group of private sector doctors in Washington State have unionized.  Doctors in California have been union members for decades, but the trend is only now starting to spread to the Pacific Northwest.  Last year, a group of hospital doctors in Springfield, Oregon joined the union that represents other heath care workers at their facility.  The Union of American Physicians and Dentists, which will represent Auburn Medical Center doctors, is speaking with other doctors in the region who are interested in forming unions of their own.  According to UAPD President Stuart Bussey, MD, “Doctors now realize that only by unionizing can they stand up to hospital administrations that focus on efficiency and cost-cutting at the expense of patient care.”

Reflecting on the vote, Dr. Bussey continued, “There’s obviously a good deal of solidarity among the physicians who work at Auburn.  Other physicians thinking about unionizing should feel encouraged by what they’ve been able to do. ”

Virginia Stowell, MD, a surgeon at the nearby Tacoma General Hospital, was pleased to hear the news from AMC. “We were watching the election closely, and we are thrilled with the results.  We will continue to organize more physicians and fight for physician-directed care in Washington.”

After the election results are certified on Thursday, AMC doctors will begin preparations for their first negotiations with their employer, MultiCare Health System.  MultiCare, which purchased AMC in 2012, owns and operates five hospitals and multiple clinics in the Tacoma area.


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Tacoma Paper Covers Union Drive

September 24, 2016

The News Tribune today printed an article entitled “Auburn Medical Center doctors working to unionize physicians.”  From that article:

Neil Partain, a hospitalist at the Auburn hospital, agreed that a union seems potentially the most effective option for becoming part of Multicare administrative decisions.

“We’ve slowly learned that if we want to stay relevant with how patients are taken care of and the decisions that are made within the organization, we have to be able to come together as one voice and be heard by the company,” said Partain, who has been with Multicare for three years.

The article also quotes Dr. Virginia Stowell, who delineates some of the goals of this unionization effort:
Read more …

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Additional Raise for CSU Doctors

September 22, 2016

By now California State University doctors have all received the 3 percent cost of living increase resulting from the Side Letter Agreement with CSU.  An additional 2 percent increase was also negotiated, which will go into effect on June 30, 2017. At that time, we will be negotiating with CSU for the next contract, as well.  In addition, negotiations continue with CSU on the creation of new specialty physician classifications and associated salary ranges. An announcement will go out when we have updated information.

San Joaquin Administrators Fall Short

September 21, 2016

When your UAPD Negotiating team met with administrators last Friday, we believed we were close to reaching a a deal.  After all, your colleagues at the table had made significant concessions regarding market adjustments for ALL specialties by agreeing to focus on several specialties in which the County has had extreme difficulty recruiting and retaining physicians.  For the other half of the bargaining unit, the Committee reasonably proposed improvements to incentive formulas, which would be mutually beneficial to the doctors and to the County.  Considering the County has advocated incentive based pay practices, we did not foresee any roadblocks to these proposals.  WE WERE WRONG!

In the past, most incentive pay formulas have been decided by each department.  However, your committee proposed to include those formulaic changes in the contract to insure their implementation.  This proposal was not well received by management.  They wanted us to agree to a “future promise” of incentive changes — with no market adjustment for most of our members, on the eve of the County’s paid negotiator’s vacation this week.  The Union could not, in good faith, agree to a “handshake” agreement with no enforceable rights, or allow the County to leverage their vacation delay to dismiss the market demands of half of our members.
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UAPD Endorses Tax on Sugary Beverages

September 15, 2016

The CCSF doctors UAPD represents are dedicated to safety net medical care and public health. A survey of the Union membership in advance of the 2014 San Francisco “soda tax“ proposition yielded 96% support for that measure.

With Berkeley’s approval of a penny-per-ounce sugary beverage tax in 2014 and Philadelphia’s passage of a 1.5 cents per ounce tax in June of this year (currently under legal challenge by the American Beverage Association), the possibility of overcoming the industry’s financial power on a national scale suddenly seems possible. UAPD is proud to join the effort in endorsing Proposition V, just as we did in 2014.

The Chronicle’s recent editorial in favor of the proposition can be found here.

An American Journal of Public Health article analyzing the results of Berkeley’s tax can be accessed here.

Additional information can be found at the campaign website.

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