Union workers protest 175 layoffs at UC Irvine

About 200 union members and supporters rallied Tuesday outside UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., to protest 175 layoffs, reports Orange County Register.

Unions represented at the rally included the California Nurses Association, the University Professional and Technical Employees 9119 and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 3299.

Kathryn Lybarger, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 3299, told Orange County Register 68 union members received layoff notices two weeks ago, including nursing assistants, as well as employees who admit and transport patients.

"They should actually be adding more frontline staff," Ms. Lybarger said. "We're here today to let UCI know we will not stop fighting them until every UCI employee has a job again at UCI."

UC Irvine Health recently announced it is laying off 175 employees to reduce costs. University spokesman John Murray said the hospital tried to keep positions that provided bedside care, and about a quarter of the affected employees were in management, according to the report.

Union officials claim the layoffs were unjustified given the nonprofit hospital's large revenues, but Mr. Murray said much of those funds must support UCI's academic and research mission, according to the report.

"Academic centers are generally more costly because we provide services that other hospitals don't, like trauma and burn," Mr. Murray said.

Among the other unions represented at the rally, the California Nurses Association lost six jobs; and the University Professional and Technical Employees 9119 lost nine jobs, including dieticians and Spanish-language medical interpreters.


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