Strike By Healthcare Workers Certain At MPTF; No More Talks Planned

Despite a looming strike next week, there was no last minute deal struck today in the last bargaining session between the Motion Picture and Television Fund and the union that represents the healthcare workers at the Wasserman Camus in Woodland Hills and other facilities. “After extensive good faith bargaining on MPTF’s part, we have reached an impasse. No further negotiating sessions have been planned,” said MPTF CEO Bob Beitcher in a statement Wednesday. Union officials insist they are still willing to meet in good faith with the MPTF before the three-day strike scheduled to start Monday night. However, with no deal on a new three-year contract and no one scheduled to talk further, the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West says it does intend to follow through on the formal strike notice it gave the MPTF last week and hit the picket line starting late on March 18. Further action could follow, a source confirmed to me. Part of that action could stem from the MPTF’s intention to bring in replacement workers during the strike. “We have completed the polling of our employees and have lined up qualified temporary staffing for a five-day period starting Monday night for those employees who have elected to walk out. Patient and resident safety is and will always be our primary concern and we are confident that our extensive strike preparation will ensure that, said Beither today. “An organization like ours relies heavily on federal and state healthcare reimbursements, and these are shrinking by the moment. We need to size our costs to fit our anticipated revenues and in so doing we are asking all of our staff to join in a shared sacrifice. SEIU-UHW has insisted on its own framework for settlement. We believe its proposal is inconsistent with our ability to serve our patients and residents as well as our ability to provide job stability now and in the future,” he added.

Related: Union Pickets MPTF Hospital

The SEIU-UHW represents around 500 nurses, their aides, medical-records workers and other caregivers at the MPTF’s Wasserman Camus hospital and other venues. The union and management have been in talks about a new contract since August 2012. Members at the MPTF’s care facility and hospital overwhelming voted to authorize strike action on January 30. Picketing and leafleting action followed on February 21 and outside Jeffrey Katzenberg’s 11th Annual “Night Before” Oscars Fundraiser for the MPTF on February 23 at the Beverly Hills Hotel. After the last bargaining session between the SEIU, the MPTF and a federal mediator on March 8 ended with no progress the union gave management a formal 10 day labor action notification. The SEIU-UHW says wages, low staffing levels, raised health care premiums and frozen retirement contributions are the main issues on the table. CEO Beitcher told employees on January 31 that staffing levels were not part of the bargaining.

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