Some of California’s highest-paid state workers vote to strike — here’s who they’re angry with

Photo by Michael A. Jones

Some of California’s highest-paid public employees are turning up the heat on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration after six months of contract negotiations.

The Union of American Physicians and Dentists, which represents doctors, psychiatrists and other medical staff in state hospitals and prisons, said that 91% of participating members voted on Monday to authorize a strike – the first such vote in state worker history, union leaders claim.

Union leaders say staffing shortages among medical professionals within the state’s hospitals and prisons result in poor care for patients and inmates, and they point to stagnant wages as the main culprit for sluggish hiring. Nearly 45% of psychiatrist positions represented by Bargaining Unit 16 were vacant as of April, according to data from the State Controller’s Office.