University of California's student health center doctors go on strike

WESTWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Doctors at the University of California's student health centers are staging a one-day strike over contract negotiations.

About 150 doctors were expected to walkout on Tuesday from student health centers across California. They are protesting what they describe as unfair labor practices.

The doctors are members of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, which has been negotiating a contract with the University of California since it formed in 2013.

"It's sad. On one level, I never thought as a physician I'd actually be out on strike," said Dr. Mark Ackerman with the Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center.

It's the first time in 25 years fully licensed doctors have gone on strike against a U.S. employer.

Ackerman and other union members say UC officials have given them no choice by not providing key information at the bargaining table.

"The information requests where we asked where the funds are. They're going into chancellors' raises that are 20 percent," said Dr. Charles McDaniel with the Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center.

UC spokesperson Shelly Meron released the following statement:

"We are disappointed the union has decided to go on strike rather than focusing on negotiations and trying to reach a fair settlement. We think the best way to resolve these issues is through bargaining and not at the picket line."

Many Students are in support of this protest, saying the UC system needs to change.

"The question is: Where is the money going to? Is it going towards the people who need it or is it going to the administration, who has already bloated administrative benefits and perks?" said Juan Torres, a student.
Union members said they have filed multiple unfair labor practice charges against the UC system and say it's about time UC abides by the laws that govern bargaining.

"It's rather frustrating. It's very slow-going and it seems like it's UC's tactic," Ackerman said.

Organizers say the strike will have a limited impact on students, because doctors gave the schools time to prepare for the strike so important services can still be offered. However, UC officials say some non-emergency appointments will have to be rescheduled.

Picket lines were planned for all 10 campuses with protests set to last until 2:30 p.m.

Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.