On Wednesday November 10th, UAPD met once again with 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 the previous meeting on September 29th, UAPD had 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 Permanent and 15 Limited Term positions, CDCR contended that it would remain in compliance with the Perez Court Order (the decision that mandates federal oversight of the dental care provided to California prison inmates). A recent amendment to the Perez Court Order authorized a reduction in the dentist to inmate ratio from 1:515 to 1:600, while simultaneously increasing the number of dental hygienists on staff.
At the November 10th meeting, UAPD continued to press the State, asking why it used high-priced contractors while citing a lack of funds as its reason for layoffs. And why is the state still advertising for new dental hires at the same time it is planning layoffs?
UAPD also objected to the way in which CDCR has abused the concept of Limited Term (LT) positions, forcing far too many dentists to work as if they are at-will employees. While the State claims to have good reason for hiring 37 Limited Term dentists, UAPD has called on them to stop extending the current LT contracts and to instead hire these dentists into permanent positions.
While UAPD also asserted the importance of following seniority rules and maximizing transfer opportunities in case layoffs do occur, the union remains committed to the fact that these layoffs can and should be prevented. Senority rules dictate that layoffs would affect contractors first, and permanent staff last.
More efforts to prevent these layoffs are taking place away from the bargaining table. For instance, dentists and UAPD staff continue to review the suspect data CDCR used to justify the layoffs of dentists. UAPD staff are putting that analysis of into a report for legislators and Governor-elect Jerry Brown.
UAPD will meet again with the DPA and CDCR on November 19th. Details from that meeting will also be sent to UAPD members.