CALIFORNIA: UNIONS LINE UP AGAINST UCSF-STANFORD MERGER
Unions representing University of California-San FranciscoThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
(UCSF) employees have filed suit to block a proposed merger
between the UCSF and Stanford University medical centers. The
suit, filed by the Coalition of Unions Representing Employees
(CURE) at UCSF, accuses the UC Board of Regents "of colluding in
secret" on the deal "in violation of a state law that requires
prior notice of scheduled meetings and agendas." The suit
requests that the San Francisco Superior Court "block" any move
by the regents to privatize UCSF's Medical Center "without first
holding public hearings" (Krieger/Raine, SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER,
A BIG MERGER: Under the proposed UCSF-Stanford deal, the
merged medical centers would be operated as a nonprofit
corporation with its own management and governing board, while
the universities' medical schools and research centers would
remain separate (AHL's 50-State Report, Summer 1996 issue).
MORE DETAILS, PLEASE: The unions are asking the court to
order the regents "to disclose all details of the proposed merger
and guarantee public participation." James Eggleston, an
attorney for the coalition said, "The regents' haste to privatize
is immoral, illegal and a disservice to UCSF patients and
employees. We are confident that this case will shine the light
of day on this profit-motivated scheme, and that the people of
California will defeat this move to commercialize patient care."
The unions involved in the suit include the California Nurses
Association; the American Federation of State, County and
Municipal Employees; University Professional and Technical
Employees, San Francisco Interns and Residents Association; and
the Communication Workers of America.
IT ISN'T SO: According to UC spokesperson Terry Colvin, the
regents did not violate the state Public Records Act by holding
secret meetings on the merger.
JOB SECURITY: EXAMINER reports that the unions have filed
the suit out of fear over "loss of jobs and retirement benefits."
The coalition estimates that about 3,700 hospital employees
"could be without union contracts, as well as retirement
packages, if they are no longer considered employees of UC."
However, according to Colvin there is "no way of estimating how
many jobs a merger might cost." He said, "We don't know what the
formulation of the new hospital, if any, is going to be."
STALLED FOR NOW: EXAMINER notes that UC officials had hoped
to have the deal approved by the end of this month. However, the
merger negotiations have been suspended over "concern[s] about
potential legal and logistical problems" (Krieger/Raine, 6/8).