LA physicians, dentists plan strike after Christmas

Physicians and dentists who work for Los Angeles County plan to go on strike Dec. 27, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Their union, The Union of American Physicians and Dentists, announced the news Dec. 13 in a Facebook post. Union representatives argue that benefits offered to county physicians and other medical professionals who work for county-run hospitals, clinics and other facilities are inadequate, making it challenging to recruit and retain staff, and that there are dire vacancies for medical professionals in some county facilities, according to the Times.

In its Facebook post, the union calls on the county "to go into mediation with us to avert a strike that could have significant repercussions on medical services provided in county hospitals, jails, juvenile facilities and beyond."

The Los Angeles County chief executive office said in a statement shared with Becker's that it values physicians and other medical professionals and is disappointed with the union's "threat to strike" beginning Dec. 27.

The county has filed an unfair labor charge with its employee relations commission largely due to "the potential of an unlawful economic strike and the union's failure to engage in good faith negotiations," the office added.

Stuart Bussey, MD, the union's president, shared the following statement with the Times: "LA County doctors are sick and tired of the administration stalling and ignoring the fact that we have huge vacancy rates and people aren't getting the care they need. We will not be silenced by the county's effort to block our right to strike."

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services employs the largest part of the union members who could participate in a strike. Other union members such as medical and veterinary professionals could also go on strike, according to the Times.

Meanwhile, the county remains hopeful "of a successful resolution to these negotiations, but we must now shift our focus more urgently to minimizing the impact of any strike on the members of the public who rely on LA County as their healthcare safety net," its chief executive office said.

The office added that it supports mediation to resolve negotiations and "will continue to formulate the most appropriately competitive and fiscally responsible benefits proposal possible for our doctors and the other represented medical professionals."

Editor's note: This story was updated at 5:12 p.m. CST on Dec. 14.

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