UCLA Health hospitals, clinics committed to patient care during strike

A union representing UCLA Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine employees says it plans to strike across the University of California system from Monday, May 7, to Thursday, May 10. Other unions say they intend to strike in sympathy starting Tuesday.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) notified the University that its service unit plans to strike and that its patient care technical employees will strike in sympathy. Three units of University Professional & Technical Employees (UPTE) and the California Nurses Association (CNA) indicated that they plan to hold sympathy strikes.

“During this period, patient safety and high-quality care will remain our highest priority. Detailed plans have been developed to ensure that we continue to meet the medical needs of our patients and the community,” said Johnese Spisso, president of UCLA Health and CEO of the UCLA Hospital System, and Dr. Kelsey Martin, dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, in a joint email to all employees.

“While we value the contributions of all employees and respect their rights, we are committed to maintaining access to our hospitals and clinics and to maintaining the core research, training and education functions of the David Geffen School of Medicine,” Spisso and Martin said.

UCLA Health values the opportunity to provide medical care to our patients, and we are utilizing prudent planning and working diligently to minimize inconveniences caused by strike activity and to ensure our highest priority – maintaining safe, high-quality patient care.

Prior to the strike, UCLA Health retained temporary healthcare professionals with extensive experience and qualifications. Because a limited number of contract technicians were available for outpatient diagnostic imaging, some of those patient appointments were scheduled for times either before or after the strike. Additional clinics were opened during weekend hours to accommodate those appointments. Some elective outpatient surgeries were similarly rescheduled.

During the strike, UCLA Health is evaluating resources around the clock and deploying contract staff and managers to ensure safe and effective patient care.

Contracts with the labor unions are negotiated by the University of California Office of the President on behalf of UCLA and other UC campuses.

Information about the collective-bargaining process is available on this UC website.

Striking Unions

  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) notified the UC that service workers will strike from 4 am on Monday, May 7, until 3:59 am on Thursday, May 10. This unit includes custodians, security guards and food service workers. The union says its patient care technical employees will strike in sympathy during the same period. Among these employees are medical assistants; perfusionists; phlebotomists and emergency trauma, radiology and other technicians.
  • University Professional & Technical Employees (UPTE) notified the University that health care professional, research support professional and technical support professional employees will participate in a sympathy strike from 4 am on Tuesday, May 8, until 3:59 am on Thursday, May 10. Among these employees are clinical lab scientists; pharmacists; physician assistants; clinical social workers; speech pathologists; occupational and physical therapists; research lab assistants and various staff research associate positions.
  • California Nurses Association (CNA) has called for a sympathy strike between 4 am Tuesday and 3:59 am Thursday. Among these employees are clinical nurses, nurse practitioners and anesthetists, and transplant coordinators.