County, Physicians Settle Benefits Dispute
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously in a closed session to pay county physicians for benefits the county denied them after they unionized in 1999, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Before joining the union, county physicians' benefits packages provided for a payment amounting to as much as 19% of their salaries for health insurance, vacation and sick leave, according to Joe Bader, regional administrator for the Union of American Physicians and Dentists of Southern California. The agreement also allowed the physicians to retain the money, Bader said.
After county physicians voted to join the union, the county in 2001 enrolled the physicians in a less generous benefits plan received by other unionized county workers.
The Legislature subsequently passed legislation prohibiting the practice, and provisions of that measure made it retroactive to 2001 so that it would apply to the Los Angeles County case.
Under the settlement, about 670 physicians will receive about $15,000 each on average, according to Bader (Leonard, Los Angeles Times, 1/24).