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As Strike Looms, UC Medical Centers Cancel Elective Surgeries

Aired 5/17/13 on KPBS News.

Elective surgeries are being canceled at University of California Medical Centers in anticipation of a potential strike next week by thousands of patient care workers.

University of California Medical Centers across the state are canceling elective surgeries scheduled for early next week. The move is in preparation for a possible strike by nearly 13,000 union workers.

UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest.

Above: UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees represents surgical techs, respiratory therapists, and other patient care workers. Union members are set go on strike next Tuesday and Wednesday to protest stalled contract negotiations.

The union says management has refused to address its concerns with what it calls unsafe staffing levels. AFSCME also wants the hospitals to stop using volunteers and temps.

UC officials say their current contract offer includes pay raises and generous benefits. Officials say the union refuses to accept a new pension plan that calls for more worker contributions.

UC asked for an injunction to block the strike. A state agency ruled the strike is allowed, but said some 120 union workers must remain on the job.

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