AFSCME Local 206
Affiliated with the AFL-CIO

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UAPD Sponsered Bill That Would Eliminate Copays for Inmates Passes First Committee

February 28, 2019

On February 26th, California’s Assembly Public Safety Committee voted to pass Assembly Bill 45, authored by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Santa Cruz). AB 45, which UAPD (Local AFSCME 206) has co-sponsored, would eliminate medical and dental co-payments and charges for health care appliances in prisons and jails. The passage comes on the heels of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) recent announcement that they will stop charging copayments for medical and dental services and appliances like dentures effective March 1, 2019.

Since 1995, California prisons have required a $5 medical copay from incarcerated people seeking medical or dental care. In most county jails, inmates must pay a copay of $3. California counties that do not collect medical co-payments from people in jail include Napa, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, and Tulare. In 2017, the Prison Policy Initiative calculated that someone earning prison job minimum wage would have to work over 60 hours to afford one copay. For many prisoners, this is often a costly choice that can result in deadly consequences. In 2003, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention identified copays as one of the factors contributing to an MRSA outbreak among incarcerated people in California. Proponents of the bill also argue that medical co-pays exacerbate racial inequities within public health.  Because Black and Brown people are disproportionately incarcerated, barriers to affordable healthcare created through copays intensify existing racial health disparities.

The UAPD, alongside the ACLU of California, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and Initiate Justice are now looking to the California Legislature to eliminate these co-payments and medical equipment charges in county jails and to ensure that they can’t be reinstated in state prison.

Read more about: Featured, Legislative Advocacy, News

2019: Uncertainty…and Possibility

December 28, 2018

By Stuart A. Bussey, MD, JD, UAPD President

Tariff wars, Middle East and US Border tensions, government shutdown, stock market volatility. 2019 could be a difficult year for our economy and our country. On the other hand, unemployment is low, wages are slowly rising and the impact of Janus on public unions is lower than expected. UAPD will be shoring up our public sector while organizing our private markets. With streamlined staffing and consolidated offices, our union hopes to grow in size and strength. I ask that you, our members, participate and share your voices and ideas with us whenever you can.

The direction of your jobs, careers and health care delivery should be dependent on your increased professional input. Our union will continue to fight for better working conditions and health care for your patients. UAPD is more than just another non-profit corporation. It is a sisterhood and brotherhood. We need to communicate and help one another. I look forward to achieving our possibilities in the coming year.

Arbitrator Mandates Alameda Health System Employ UAPD Psychiatrists

January 9, 2019

In July 2018, UAPD decisively won at arbitration against Alameda Health System (AHS).  Two years prior to that time, AHS contracted out psychiatrists’ jobs in the psychiatric emergency services/triage services to Traditions Behavioral Health (TBH), flagrantly violating both UAPD’s MOU and a California statute, sponsored by UAPD, which protects those jobs. The arbitrator ruled AHS was clearly in violation of the MOU and the statute. The arbitrator then ruled that all of those positions MUST be returned to us! In September 2018, the arbitrator handed down his remedy (see below), outlining that by May 1, 2019, TBH’s contract for staffing PES (milieu and triage) must end, if not sooner (see paragraph #7 of the remedy).  Currently, AHS is in violation of this remedy as they have failed to advertise the new psychiatric rates in violation of paragraph #3 of the remedy as the rates have been approved by AHS’ Board of Trustees.  Our attorneys are now demanding that AHS abide by this remedy. The arbitrator retains jurisdiction to ensure that AHS does not drag its feet. 

The remedy below represents a huge collective effort and victory for UAPD against the contractor, Traditions Behavioral Health.

Multicare Urgent Care – Legacy Bargaining Team Agrees to Historic Contract

February 25, 2019

Facing an increasing media campaign and an imminent picketing demonstration by UAPD, Multicare Health Systems blinked. After 20 months at the bargaining table, one issue became the sticking point—the urgent care closing policy. Urgent Care doctors and providers wanted to maintain their ability to leave the clinic near the posted closing time. Our tentative agreement essentially preserves this right and will go a long way to prevent burnout and fatigue. In addition to the closing policy there are many other advancements in this first contract—just cause, salary increases with a reduction in total shifts, a new grievance system, to name a few. Legacy bargaining unit members will be voting on this new contract in the coming weeks.

This tentative agreement with Multicare represents the first collective bargaining between a physician and provider union and a private corporate health care organization in the state of Washington and one of the first in the western United States. It will undoubtedly give hope to other doctors and providers who are working as employees without a voice. UAPD has another potential agreement close at hand with Multicare/Auburn Medical center. The next session will be on March 13. We will keep you posted.

Read more about: Featured, News, Washington

MultiCare Providers Stand Together for Patient Safety

January 22, 2019

Hundreds of physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners at the Legacy and Indigo urgent care centers and Auburn Medical Center (AMC) in Tacoma, Washington are standing together to protect the health and wellbeing of Tacoma residents, and improve deteriorating working conditions for healthcare providers.

The three units, all members of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD), have been bargaining with MultiCare, the $2.4 billion-a-year healthcare corporation that owns Legacy, Indigo and AMC, since June 2017, but the company has yet to address the providers’ serious concerns regarding patient care and staff safety. After coming to the table multiple times it’s become clear that MultiCare has not been bargaining in good faith on these issues.

Citing practices that “put profit before patient care,” UAPD members are demanding that the healthcare giant address policies that impact patient care such as staff retention, inadequate staffing levels and consistently overworked staff. These issues have led to astronomical turnover rates, unpredictable facility closures and chronic short staffing. All are contributing factors to what providers see as a declining standard of care in MultiCare facilities.

Providers will be holding MultiCare accountable both at the facilities and in a growing social media campaign

Read more about: Featured, MultiCare