UCLA Health System has taken numerous steps to protect patient safety in anticipation of a strike expected to begin at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, May 21.
In anticipation that hundreds of AFSCME and UPTE employees would not come to work, the UCLA Health System postponed twenty-five percent of the surgeries scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. In addition, the patient census, which is normally at or above 100 percent of capacity, has been lowered to about 80 percent. Approximately 550 replacement workers and redeployed administration staff will fill in for striking workers in positions ranging from housekeeping staff to respiratory therapists and nursing assistants. The estimated cost of the two-day strike to UCLA is more than $5 million, which reflects lost revenue and expenditures for replacement workers.
Patient care areas that would be impacted include Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, UCLA’s Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital, the David Geffen School of Medicine, Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA and its community and outpatient clinics.
"We sincerely regret any inconvenience this strike may cause our patients, their families and friends," said Dr. Tom Rosenthal, chief medical officer, UCLA Hospital Systems. "However, every effort is being made to ensure that the hospitals and clinics that are part of the UCLA Health System remain open and continue to deliver the highest level of patient care and safety through the duration of the strike."
The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE) represent about 5,000 UCLA Health System employees.
On May 20, the California Superior Court issued an injunction, which prohibits a very limited number of union employees at UCLA from striking because of the threat to public health and safety. The highest priority at UCLA Health System’s hospitals and clinics is to provide patients with safe, high quality care.