UC medical workers strike over proposed pension cuts
May 21, 2013
University of California medical workers began a two-day strike early Tuesday morning at hospitals across the state to protest proposed reductions to their pension plans. [KPCC]
The UC employees union, a chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, began its walkout at 4 a.m. Tuesday from medical centers in San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Francisco and Sacramento. The strike prompted UC officials to postpone some surgeries and chemotherapy sessions for children.
The union, which represents 13,000 hospital pharmacists, nursing assistants, operating room scrubs and other health care workers, says it refuses to accept a proposal that would require more employee contributions by current workers and a second tier pension plan with reduced benefits for new hires. The proposal is similar to a plan accepted by other state workers.
Union officials also contend that the state should divert money away from executive pensions and direct it toward adding medical staffers.
“We care about our patients and we feel that we’re chronically understaffed and we need additional help,” Los Angeles radiation therapist Ruben Gomez told KCBS.
More than 2,000 workers are expected to walk out at UC facilities in Los Angeles and Santa Monica. Gomez said the strikers set up a task force to ensure that critically ill patients receive care.
On Monday, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge David Brown partially granted an injunction to stop the strike. Brown ordered 453 workers to remain on the job.
“There is reasonable cause to believe the strike would prevent delivery of an essential public service,” Brown said.