Today the University of California (UC) formally recognized the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD) as the exclusive bargaining representative of doctors working in the student health centers. This marks the successful completion of an organizing campaign that began in December 2012, when a handful of doctors on a few campuses started talking to UAPD and their colleagues about the merits of forming a union. Less than a year later, you are officially union doctors. Congratulations, and welcome to UAPD!
As you probably know, the process of gathering union authorization cards from a majority of doctors actually finished back in April. For the last seven months, UC attorneys have done everything in their power to postpone recognition of this new union, but in the end reason and justice prevailed. We have all worked hard to reach this point, and we have many reasons to be proud.
What comes next?
Now that student health center doctors are represented by a union, negotiations for your first contract can begin. UAPD will immediately begin scheduling bargaining dates with UC. We can see by UC’s actions so far that reaching an agreement with them will not be easy, and it will require the active support of doctors on all campuses. You will have many opportunities to show support for the union in the coming months, and I hope you will take advantage of them.
UAPD has been helping doctors negotiate strong contracts for 40 years, and we look forward to doing the same with you. Let’s begin.
Stuart A. Bussey, M.D., J.D.