September 21, 2016
When your UAPD Negotiating team met with administrators last Friday, we believed we were close to reaching a a deal. After all, your colleagues at the table had made significant concessions regarding market adjustments for ALL specialties by agreeing to focus on several specialties in which the County has had extreme difficulty recruiting and retaining physicians. For the other half of the bargaining unit, the Committee reasonably proposed improvements to incentive formulas, which would be mutually beneficial to the doctors and to the County. Considering the County has advocated incentive based pay practices, we did not foresee any roadblocks to these proposals. WE WERE WRONG!
In the past, most incentive pay formulas have been decided by each department. However, your committee proposed to include those formulaic changes in the contract to insure their implementation. This proposal was not well received by management. They wanted us to agree to a “future promise” of incentive changes — with no market adjustment for most of our members, on the eve of the County’s paid negotiator’s vacation this week. The Union could not, in good faith, agree to a “handshake” agreement with no enforceable rights, or allow the County to leverage their vacation delay to dismiss the market demands of half of our members.
Read more …
September 6, 2016
The UAPD Negotiating Committee has been meeting with the County on a regular basis. UAPD submitted a comprehensive package proposal, which includes competitive market adjustments for all specialties; improvements to tuition reimbursement and license/certification renewals; due process and severance for terminations of employment; increased rates for extra duty assignments; Cost of Living Increases (COLA); and the committee has agreed to expand the Main Jail incentive to all assignments in Custody and Acute Care Services as a combined incentive and base wage proposal.
So far, the County has rejected any improvements to due process for terminations and has proposed below market adjustments and COLAs that do not amount to similar, across the board, increases for other County employees. Although the County has expressed an urgency to reach an agreement before the expiration of our MOU next month, it has made minute movements toward an agreement that our members will ratify.
August 5, 2016
The contract between the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD) and Santa Cruz County expires on November 11th. Bargaining for the next contract began on Friday. Dr. Sanford and Dr. Yazgan will serve on the UAPD bargaining team, alongside labor representatives Albert Munoz and Sue Wilson. During Friday’s session, the parties scheduled five future sessions and agreed to ground rules for negotiations. Drs. Sanford and Yazgan provided an overview of the problem the County is having with the recruitment and retention of doctors.
Our next bargaining date is scheduled for August 30th, and we will send an update afterward.
July 13, 2016
Oakland — By a vote of 38 to 2, psychiatrists at John George Psychiatric Hospital demanded that
the Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, Joe Walker, M.D., be removed from that position.
The doctors are no longer willing to tolerate a Chair who fails to treat patients, who is far
removed from the workings of his Department, and who in his role as an interim chief medical
officer has awarded financially reckless contracts. A contract negotiated by Dr. Walker with
Traditions Behavioral Health would pay $264 per hour for psychiatrist services, 50% more than
what it costs to have John George employees continue to do the work. John George doctors took
the unprecedented step of voting no on Dr. Walker’s leadership because his continued missteps
will waste resources and jeopardize patient care.
“We think that Alameda County residents should know what’s going on at John George
Psychiatric Hospital,” said Milton Lorig, M.D., a psychiatrist who worked at the facility for
decades. “Dr. Walker wants to spend a lot of money on a plan that will also compromise patient
“We’ve never had a group of psychiatrists take a poll on their leadership and vote no so
overwhelming,” said Stuart Bussey, M.D., President of the Union of American Physicians and
Dentists, which represents the doctors. “We’re hoping that stakeholders in the community, and
that means both taxpayers and those who rely on the mental health system in Alameda County,
will take notice.”
John George Psychiatric Hospital, located in Oakland, is part of the Alameda Health System.
The hospital treats the acutely mentally-ill in both an in-patient and outpatient setting. The
hospital’s psychiatric emergency department provides services on a 24-7 basis to those facing a
mental health crisis.
July 11, 2016
UAPD has submitted a request for bargaining in Santa Cruz County and has begun the process of selecting a negotiating team. This year’s bargaining will likely be contentious, as the doctors plan to push the County to do more to resolve its critical doctor shortage.
In the coming weeks, UAPD will also hold a meet and confer with management over their plan to create evening hours in the Emeline clinic. While there is now a volunteer interested in filling evening hours, the union’s concern is what will happen if no volunteers exist. There will also be a second Labor Management meeting about Avatar, the new EHR system on the mental-health side. At the last meeting, doctors listed dozens of problems with the system, and will soon assess how much progress has been made on resolving them.
July 11, 2016
On Friday, July 1st, Psychiatrists at Alameda Health Services overwhelmingly expressed their desire to remove Dr. Joe Walker as Chair of their Department. Over the past two months, Dr. Walker has misused his position to make a deal with Traditions Behavioral Health (TBH) to contract out psychiatrists’ positions in a questionable deal. The doctors’ petition to remove Dr. Walker revolves around their belief that he has not fulfilled his obligations as Chair in the following areas:
1. Dr. Walker made a deal with TBH while serving as interim Chief Medical Officer – a clear conflict of interest!
2. He is an absentee Chair who is never seen in PES except to announce to the doctors that they will be fired from their jobs and replaced by TBH.
3. He has personally intimidated countless employee psychiatrists in the past weeks and has a history of threatening physicians during one-on-one meetings.
4. He fails to respond to doctors’ emails, even when it involves urgent clinical matters.
5. There is an active MEC investigation against Dr. Walker.
On Monday, July 11th, UAPD Doctors and SEIU Nurses attended the Alameda County Board of Supervisors’ Health Sub-committee to voice our concerns about patient care at JGPP.
July 2, 2016
All University of California student health center doctors represented by UAPD received a 3% raise effective Friday, July 1st. This marks the third salary increase in the UAPD contract, totaling a minimum of 10%, and significantly more for doctors at five campuses who were previously below negotiated minimum salaries or who received equity adjustments.
UAPD members will recall that the contract also provided for retroactive lump sum payments. All of the campuses issued the lump sum payments by November 2015, and earlier this year, UAPD began a careful review of each campuses’ calculations. The Union found a structural error in most payroll departments’ methodologies, whereby doctors were not paid for two months of the first retroactive period. UAPD has been working with the Office of the President since that time to ensure that the missing amounts are issued and all doctors receive the full retroactive payments they are due.
As a result, some campuses are issuing corrective payments now and the others will follow soon thereafter. UAPD will send another announcement when the final correct amounts are documented so that any member unsure of their retroactive payment can verify it with the Union.
May 20, 2016
UAPD met with AHS two days ago in a meet and confer over TBH’s efforts to staff a “triage psychiatrist” position in PES. AHS is claiming that recruitment has been unsuccessful over the past three months and that not enough SAN psychiatrists are interested in taking regular employment from the current employee pool. UAPD made several recommendations to AHS to recruit psychiatrists as an alternative to contracting out to TBH. For example, we asked that AHS advertise psychiatrists’ salaries online and in all of its outside advertisements. Interestingly, AHS has a policy of not advertising salaries for any of its vacant positions because it believes that applicants “interested in working for AHS for the high salaries are not employees we want to hire here.” Of course, this is ludicrous! All public employers advertise salaries for open positions. Furthermore, it is no secret that physicians’ salaries must be competitive with the market in order to recruit and retain them. AHS’ argument is a poor attempt at hiding its intentional obstruction of recruiting and retaining UAPD jobs.
Although UAPD doubts that AHS will present the union proposals to the Board of Trustees, more meeting are scheduled. Anticipating no movement from AHS, UAPD is prepared to move quickly to arbitration on this issue and will also file an unfair labor practice charge against AHS for meeting in bad faith with the Union.
May 11, 2016
Due to the strength and unity of UAPD NEVHC members, the midterm bargaining team won the establishment of a new salary scale for providers. The comprehensive grid incorporates substantial salary increases for all UAPD members at NEVHC, ranging from 9% to 23% cumulatively.
The UAPD team worked hard on this, meeting regularly, often weekly, with management for the past several months on behalf of all members. This tremendous achievement was accomplished by a diverse group of members working together, as a team, on unpaid time outside of their clinic hours. This group of remarkable providers is committed to ensuring just and fair working conditions and compensation, while equally committed to always providing the best, safest patient care.
This historic achievement is remarkable not only because it represents an unprecedented mid-contract salary increase for every classification, but because it establishes a salary scale for the first time at NEVHC. The salary scale is based on years of clinical experience.
April 17, 2016
In the 2015 round of contract negotiations, San Francisco Department of Public Health physicians identified additional time off as a top priority. The UAPD bargaining team eventually prevailed in changing the contract from CTO “may be granted” to CTO “shall be granted” for work falling within established guidelines. With members’ input, those guidelines were agreed to last September.
In late February, several part-time physicians contacted the Union after being denied the compensatory time they had requested. They were told that not only must a physician work in excess of their regular work schedule, they must also work over eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week in order to get CTO hours at the 1.5x rate. Thus, part-time doctors would almost never be eligible for CTO.
UAPD engaged DPH and DHR in discussions at that time. In April a conceptual agreement was reached and, earlier this week, the new CTO request form was agreed to (download it here). DPH Payroll has been notified that part-time physicians who work in excess of their normal work schedule, due to conditions falling within the established guidelines, will receive CTO at the 1.5x rate even if they have not worked more than eight hours that day or 40 hours that week.
The UAPD bargaining team fought hard to win the new CTO provisions, but feedback so far indicates that most doctors are not utilizing it. We encourage our hard-working members, both full- and part-time, to take advantage of this important benefit!