UC Irvine Student Health Center Doctors Ready to Strike Saturday

Unhappy campers (who are doctors).
Unhappy campers (who are doctors).
Union of American Physicians and Dentists

Doctors at UC Irvine's student health center plan to go on strike Saturday and stay off work until April 15 as part of a labor action by physicians at all 10 University of California campuses, their union recently announced.

The Union of American Physicians and Dentists revealed Friday that it has notified the UC administration of the work stoppage scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. Saturday and end at 7:30 a.m. April 15. A one-day work stoppage--the first involving doctors in the U.S. in 25 years--was held Jan. 27 at the behest of the union negotiating the first contract with UC since the doctors unionized in 2013.

"The action was not enough to convince UC to bargain in good faith," reads a union statement that also accuses the state university system of failing to provide financial information necessary "to bargain fairly" for the doctors.

These are only the doctors in UC student health centers, not the physicians who work at UC hospitals such as UCI Medical Center in Orange.

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"For more than a year, UC said it could not afford to make the changes needed to attract and retain student health center doctors," says UAPD president Dr. Stuart A. Bussey in the statement. "Recently they admitted they can afford to improve health care on campus, they just choose not to. We continue to push hard for this financial information because we believe UC has enough resources to improve student health care."

"We are disappointed that the union has chosen to stage strikes for the second time in three months instead of negotiating to resolve the remaining issues," says Dwaine B. Duckett, UC's vice president for human resources, in a statement of his own.

"UC is taking appropriate steps to ensure our students will have uninterrupted access to the medical services they need at our campus health centers during these strikes. We urge our employees to come to work during the strikes and continue serving the students who rely on them for care. Strikes that negatively impact our students will not resolve a labor dispute.''

Duckett also blasted the union for saying it has filed "multiple" unfair-labor-practice complaints against UC with the Public Employment Relations Board since contract negotiations began more than a year ago.

"We disagree with the union's claims that these strikes are about unfair labor practice charges," Duckett states. "The union has refused to discuss these alleged practices at the bargaining table."

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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