On Wednesday, September 29th, UAPD met with representatives from the Department of Personnel Administration (DPA) and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) regarding the surplus notices issued to 93 CDCR dentists.

At this first meeting, UAPD raised several key issues, beginning with: Why is the State cutting CDCR dentist positions when doing so would make it impossible to provide constitutionally adequate dental care?

In the plan to reduce the number of CDCR dentists by 31 positions, CDCR contends that it will remain in compliance with the Perez Court Order (the decision that mandates federal oversight of the dental care provided to California prison inmates). UAPD and the State representatives discussed at length the recent amendment to the Perez Court Order that authorizes a reduction in the dentist to inmate ratio from 1:515 to 1:600. That dramatic change raises questions about whether CDCR provided selective or manipulated data to the Court to justify cutting dentist positions.

UAPD also objected to the fact that surplus notices were issued only to dentists holding permanent positions, skipping over what are typically the least-senior members of our bargaining unit, those holding limited term positions. CDCR was vague when asked to confirm whether limited term agreements would be terminated before permanent employees would be laid off. The CDCR was evasive when asked by the UAPD if it plans to hire more limited term employees into permanent full time positions and/or extend the current limited term employees to a second term. Separate from the issues surrounding the misguided ratio change, the State is clearly abusing the intent of limited term employment, in a way that the bargaining unit must address now and moving forward.

The UAPD negotiation team and UAPD’s legislative staff are working through various channels to quickly collect and analyze the data CDCR provided the Perez Court. The DPA has agreed to provide UAPD with all requested documents including the amended Perez court order, seniority scores and limited term employee data.

In initiating these layoffs and misusing the limited term positions, CDCR has gone way off course. In the coming weeks, UAPD will direct a great deal of its resources toward defending these important dental positions. To start, UAPD will be meeting with CDCR dentists to review the State’s data, so that we can provide decision makers with the real facts in the case. The next meet and confer with the State is scheduled for November 3, 2010, but much of our work takes place before then. Please respond to this e-mail or contact your representative if you have additional questions or information that supports preserving these positions.