OAKLAND: Three Health Clinics for Poor See Worker Strikes
Doctors, nurses and staff at three clinics operated under the La Clinica de la Raza-Fruitvale Health Project Inc. in Oakland held a one-day strike yesterday after contract negotiations fell apart last week. A vital component of the area's health safety net, La Clinica is a "28-year-old nonprofit organization that provides free and low-cost medical care to needy families, undocumented immigrants and those without health insurance." While approximately 230 clinic workers "held spirited demonstrations outside two of the clinics," management offered only emergency services at two clinics and completely shut down the third. Employees will return to work today, but "union representatives warned of future strikes if talks break down again." Clinic employees have worked without contracts since September, and went on strike after the Service Employees International Union Local 535 "unanimously rejected an offer of a 2.5% annual salary increase for a majority of the clinics' workers and as much as a 15% annual raise for doctors." The San Francisco Chronicle reports that clinic workers -- including doctors -- "resented the disparity between the figures." Clinic Executive Director Jane Garcia said, however, that the salary figures were an attempt to attract doctors who may be better compensated by the county or in private practice. Workers also complained that management wants them to increase their hours per week from 37.5 to 40 without just compensation (Walker, 2/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.