Student health centers at five University of California campuses in Southern California will be open Monday, as striking doctors and dentists from San Diego to Santa Barbara plan a midday rally at the UCLA campus during its annual “Bruin Day” open house.
Picket lines will be up at UCLA from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the union said, at the UCLA Ashe Student Health Wellness Center, 221 Westwood Plaza.
The union planned to have doctors from all in lab coast on the UCLA picket line, and they “will be joined by UC students, fellow UC workers, and concerned community members,” according to spokeswoman Sue Wilson at the Union of American Physicians and Dentists.
There will be a plane towing a banner in support of picketing doctors flying above the picket lines, she said. The UCLA protest is aimed to inject information “about the important role that student health centers play on campus” and about alleged unfair labor practices, Wilson said, as its new class of admitted students and their parents tour the UCLA campus.
Last week, a UC spokesman said the state is “disappointed” by the strike, which is billed as the first job actiion by medical doctors in the United States in 25 years.
Dwaine B. Duckett, UC’s vice president for human resources, vowed that the schools are “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.”
In a statement, he urged employees to cross picket lines “and continue serving the students who rely on them for care. Strikes that negatively impact our students will not resolve a labor dispute.”
The union maintains that “UC has not remedied any of the unfair labor practice charges that the Union of American Physicians and Dentists has filed against them during the on-going negotiations for a first contact for student health center doctors,” Wilson said.
Doctors and dentists from UCLA will be joined by their counterparts from UC campuses at Irvine, San Diego, Riverside and Santa Barbara. A similar walkout started last week in the Bay Area.
UC emphasized that the strike affects the student health centers only, and not the comparatively-huge UC training hospitals and their associated medical insurance, HMO and private insurance centers.