On Tuesday, January 23, 2007 the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a $10.1 million dollar back pay settlement negotiated between the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD) and Los Angeles County that will be distributed among 670 County employed physicians. The settlement ends over six years of litigation between the County and the UAPD that resulted from the County’s unlawful removal of benefits from 800 physicians who unionized in 1999. In July of 2005 the Court of Appeals ruled that Los Angeles County violated state law by forcing the newly unionized physicians to accept a lesser benefit plan from January 2002 to January 2004 that resulted in losses averaging $15,000 per physician.
Back paychecks will be mailed out to the doctors as soon as they can be processed.
“This is a great victory for County physicians and a defeat for the efforts of the Board of Supervisors to punish the physicians for unionizing. Not even the Board of Supervisors is above the law” said Stuart Bussey, MD, JD, President of the UAPD.
The doctors voted to decertify the UAPD and become unrepresented in June of 2003 because of the removal of the Flexible Benefit Plan which, according to the Board of Supervisors at the time, was only available to unrepresented employees. The doctors received the benefits back in January of 2004 after becoming officially “unrepresented”.
The doctors will also regain the option of participating in the 401 K Deferred Earnings Plan in July of 2007 as the result of the settlement. Los Angeles County will match the first 4% of the doctor’s salary if he/she contributes to the plan.
“We waited for this day for a long time,” said Orlando Pile, MD, Chief of Communicable Diseases for the Sheriffs Department Medical Facility at Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown LA. “It wasn’t right for the County to remove our benefits and now we are looking forward to the back pay and the opportunity to unionize once again”, he said.
The UAPD is affiliated with AFSCME which represents over 40,000 State, County, and City employees in California, and was instrumental in getting Governor Gray Davis to sign legislation sponsored by then Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (AB 2006) in 2001 that made the removal of benefits from Los Angeles County employees illegal.
For further information contact UAPD President Stuart Bussey, MD, JD, at 925-200-9310, UAPD Regional Director Joe Bader at 310-398-4038, or UAPD Executive Director Gary Robinson at 800-622-0909.