State Bargaining Update for October 16, 2008

The 2008 Budget season will surely be remembered as one of the most difficult in California history, and, unfortunately for State employees, it’s not over yet. When Governor Schwarzenegger signed the budget into law on September 23rd, the UAPD team looked forward to bargaining over pressing economic issues right away. However, by the time of the October 9th bargaining session, the State’s Team still lacked authority to negotiate over economic issues, and Governor Schwarzenegger was proposing that Legislators return to Sacramento for a special session to rework the budget in light of troubling new revenue data. While some unions have decided to postpone bargaining until November in light of this most recent delay, the UAPD team will continue to bargain over non-economic issues in the coming weeks, as progress is being made in some areas. The UAPD team appreciates the patience of all the doctors in the bargaining unit, who have remained steadfast in light of the frustrating delays.

Bargaining took place on October 9th and October 16th. Among the topics covered were:

Additional Appointments (7.13): In our last round of bargaining, UAPD won landmark language that encourages the State to temporarily staff unfilled positions by allowing Civil Service employees to pick up additional appointments, rather than handing the positions to expensive and inexperienced contractors. In this round of bargaining, we are proposing ways to clarify the language to encourage the departments who have not made use of the program to start doing so.

Continuing Medical Education (9.7): UAPD has proposed that the annual CME funding be increased from $1000 to $1300 in 2009, and that starting immediately upon ratification, all CME money be distributed automatically to each doctor every year, eliminating the cumbersome reimbursement process that now exists. The State presented its argument for improving the current reimbursement process, while the UAPD team vociferously defended our position that the current process is so imperfect that it is better replaced by a simple automatic payment.

Conflict of Interest: UAPD proposed new language to create a fair and transparent process allowing physicians who are accused of a conflict of interest to present evidence in their own defense.

Our next day of bargaining is on Thursday, October 30th. Look for another update following that session.