Legislative Advocacy

LAO Promotes Contracting-Out of Prison Medical Care

April 20, 2012

The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), which provides fiscal and policy advice to the State Legislature, has issued a disturbing new report that recommends transferring medical care for the state’s prisoners to outside contractors.

Read the full LAO report here.

While acknowledging there are “some legal hurdles to overcome if the state were to contract out for additional inmate medical care services,” the LAO goes on to suggest ways that the State might evade the existing restrictions on outsourcing.  The report uses the fact that the State “lacks employees with sufficient expertise to adequately manage a medical care system” in the prisons as proof that all prison medical care should be outsourced.   When what is clearly needed are new and better managers!  The report is a slap in the face to all the highly-trained doctors now working in the prisons.

UAPD is preparing a response to the report, and will begin speaking to legislators about it next week.  In the meantime, we encourage CDCR doctors to review the LAO report [4]here, and provide us with any insights or information you would like shared with legislators.

UAPD Welcomes New Group

April 5, 2012

The doctors, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants employed by the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics are the latest to join UAPD’s growing clinic sector.  The group will begin negotiating its first union contract in the coming months.

More Fines for State Department of Mental Health

April 5, 2012

California workplace safety officials have fined Coalinga State Hospital more than $20,000, alleging in part that the psychiatric facility, which mainly treats sex offenders deemed too dangerous for community release, failed to keep staff members safe from assault and has an inadequate employee alarm system.  –Los Angeles Times

Instead of fixing the problems that led to the citations at all five state hospitals, DMH is spending time and money contesting Cal/OSHA’s findings. The department has filed an appeal of the Napa and Metropolitan citations, and is expected to do the same for the citations issued against the other three hospitals. State-employee unions including UAPD have already received legal-party status in the Cal/OSHA appeals process, so they can try to hold DMH accountable for its inaction. A hearing on the Metropolitan citations is scheduled for May 10 – 11, 2012.

UAPD Fights for DMH Ratios

April 5, 2012

UAPD continues its aggressive political and media campaign to stop the proposed ratio change and prevent the layoffs of any treatment staff working within the Department of Mental Health hospitals.  To that end, UAPD continues to support Assembly Member Michael Allen’s treatment staff ratio bill (AB 2397), which would make the 1:25 (for long term units) and 1:15 (for acute or admissions units) ratios mandatory.  UAPD’s legislative staff is also exploring ways to protect DMH ratios during the development of next year’s state budget.  Next week UAPD staff and doctors will be participating in several legislative hearings regarding the DMH staffing issue.

As part of the Safety Now! coalition, UAPD also protested ratio changes during a rally at Metropolitan State Hospital on March 21.  The rally garnered excellent press coverage for the issue. Read more …

Important Survey About DMH Vacancies

April 4, 2012

UAPD encourages DMH doctors to take a few minutes to complete this vacancy survey to help the Union identify positions that could be filled by BU 16 doctors in the event of a layoff.  Because of the large number of contractors working in the system, UAPD remains hopeful that even if layoffs occur, no doctor who wants to continue working for DMH will be forced to leave.

UAPD will continue its aggressive campaign to protect staff to patient ratios in all DMH facilities, and to prevent these layoffs from occurring.

AB 1655 Will Support State Workers

April 4, 2012

Assemblymember Roger Dickinson believes that fundamental rights, including priority over private-sector contractors in filling permanent, overtime and on-call positions, need to be codified so that they aren’t subject to the whims of whatever governor or particular agency manager who happens to be in charge.

via A bill of rights for state workers?.

Important Survey On CDCR Dental Vacancies

April 2, 2012

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has begun implementing Wave 2 of the AB 109 staff reductions.  They have mailed seniority score verification letters to all those who are working in impacted counties and classifications.  They plan for this round of layoffs to go into effect on October 30, 2012.

While UAPD is doing everything in its power to prevent further layoffs of dentists, the Union must also take steps to mitigate the effects of a layoff if one should occur.  Part of that process is identifying every open position that can be filled by a bargaining unit doctor. Because vacancy information provided by the State is not always reliable, UAPD asks members to tell us what they see happening around them.

Please take a moment to fill out this survey about possible dental vacancies in any CDCR facility.

UAPD will meet and confer with CDCR on the subject of layoffs; UAPD staff, elected leaders, and members from the affected facilities will attend. UAPD will update members once the first meeting is scheduled.

CDCR posts layoff information on the CDCR website.  They also take questions about the layoff via email (CDCR.RPRSHelpDesk@CDCR.ca.gov) and telephone (877-297-5599).  If you have further questions, or need assistance, please contact your UAPD Labor Representative.

Legislators ask for halt to Napa State layoffs

March 16, 2012

Local state legislators have sent a letter to Department of Mental Health requesting a moratorium on employee layoffs at state psychiatric hospitals, including Napa State Hospital.

In their March 8 letter, the state legislators told Department of Mental Health Director Cliff Allenby that “massive layoffs” didn’t make sense at a time when the state hospitals have serious safety problems.

Read full story in the Napa Valley Register
View Select Committee Letter to Allenby 3-8-12

AB 1655 Takes Aim at Wasteful Contracting

March 9, 2012

Dickinson, a former state lawyer whose Sacramento district has a higher concentration of state employees than any other Assembly member’s, argues that his bill would take “full advantage of employee expertise.”

State employees cost less and perform at a higher level, Dickinson said, compared with contractors who charge more for their services.

“My experience is that employees of an organization tend to be more dedicated than contractors,” Dickinson said. “Plus, management has more direct and discreet control (over state employees).”

Read full story in The Sacramento Bee.

UAPD President Gives Testimony Against Contracting

February 22, 2012

On February 21, 2012 the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on State Administration held an oversight hearing on the contracting out of State work.  UAPD President Dr. Stuart Bussey presented testimony about why contracting out of doctor services presents a problem for all Californians.  Dr. Bussey presented evidence that:

Even with full benefits and a State retirement contribution of 18% there is still a monetary savings of about 29% that comes from using civil servant doctors.

He also argued that:

Another troubling State liability regarding contracted employees is that they could demand to be granted retroactive service credits, benefits, even pensions, if they were to seek legal reclassification as civil service employees.

Dr. Bussey presented a list of solutions that included passing the UAPD-sponsored Public Employee Bill of Rights (AB 1655), directing more effort towards recruitment and retention of civil servants, and limiting the circumstances and time period for which a contractor can be used.

Download Dr. Bussey’s Testimony (pdf)

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