Despite a strike by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the union representing patient care and service employees, both the Westwood and Santa Monica campuses of the UCLA Health System remained open on Wednesday, Nov. 20, providing the safest and highest quality care to our patients. With careful planning and the professionalism and dedication of many union employees who have decided to put patients first and come to work, the UCLA Health System is taking care of the health care needs of our community.
Anticipating that some AFSCME employees would not come to work, the UCLA Health System took numerous steps to protect patient safety. We postponed about 20 percent of the major elective surgeries scheduled for Nov. 20. Approximately 325 replacement workers and redeployed administration staff filled in for striking workers in positions ranging from housekeeping staff to respiratory therapists and nursing assistants. However, approximately 75 percent of AFSCME employees showed up for work. The estimated cost of the one-day strike to UCLA is more than $2.5 million, which reflects lost revenue and expenditures for replacement workers.
Patient care facilities affected by the strike included Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center; UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica; UCLA's Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital; the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital; and the UCLA Health System's community and outpatient clinics.
"We sincerely regret any inconvenience this strike may have caused our patients and their families and friends," said Dr. Tom Rosenthal, chief medical officer for the UCLA Hospital System. "However, every effort continues to be made to ensure that the hospitals and clinics that are part of the UCLA Health System remain open and continue to deliver the highest level of patient care and safety through the duration of the strike."
The highest priority at UCLA Health System hospitals and clinics is to provide patients with safe, high-quality care.
AFSCME represents about 3,800 UCLA Health System employees.
UCLA has received an additional $46 million gift from longtime supporter and legendary entertainment visionary David Geffen, a reinvestment that brings the amount of the David Geffen Medical Scholarship Fund to $146 million.