UAPD representatives met with the Department of Personnel Administration (DPA) on June 9th to discuss the possibility of layoffs for Bargaining Unit 16. It is the Union’s belief that the State of California has a shortage of doctors in its ranks, and that the cuts ordered by the Governor should not be a reason to lose the qualified, trained doctors the State currently employs. Here is the situation for our group as of this latest meeting:
1. Fewer than ten UAPD doctors have been given layoff notices. In addition, a small number of our doctors have agreed to accept new positions to avoid being laid off.
2. The DPA has not implemented the additional 5% cuts that Governor Schwarzenegger proposed in response to the May Budget Revise. It is not yet known whether the legislature will approve the proposed cuts, or how the Governor will proceed if the cuts are not approved, or how cuts would affect our bargaining unit.
3. Almost all of the doctors who have received layoff notices work at the Yountville Veterans’ Home. It seems that the State Department of Veterans Affairs is using the budget cuts as an opportunity to slash medical services for the 1,100 veterans who reside at the home. Together with the medical staff, UAPD is fighting to prevent the closure of the MOD program and the acute care unit of the Home’s on-site hospital. On June 9th UAPD President Stuart Bussey, along with UAPD and AFSCME staff members, testified before a special hearing held by State Senator Jeff Denham, Chair of the State Veterans Affairs Committee. In response to their testimony, Senator Denham is considering holding public hearings in Yountville on the cuts to the medical services. Dr. Bussey has also protested the Yountville cuts in the media.
4. UAPD attorneys this week filed a suit against the State of California arguing that doctors who are paid from federal funds or from the State’s Special Funds (monies from specific sources with restricted uses) should not be subject to furloughs, which are intended to address shortages in the state’s General Fund. A significant number of our doctors, including those employed by DSS, DPH, and DHCS, are paid out of these federal or special fund sources, and, in our view, should not suffer furloughs. UAPD will update members as the case progresses.
5. Equally unacceptable in these times is the use of contractors to do work that should be done by civil service doctors. At the bargaining table UAPD continues to push for limits on contracting, and continues its legal case against the particularly egregious use of contractors at Atascadero State Hospital.
UAPD will meet again with the DPA on Tuesday, June 16, 2009. We will continue to update members as new information arises. Please contact UAPD staff or a Bargaining Team member if you have any questions or concerns.