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University Doctors Walk Off Job For First Time In ’43-Year History’

Doctors at 10 University of California campuses staged strikes Tuesday over problems that arose during contract talks.

“The doctors, who are employed by the University’s student health centers, walked out of their jobs to protest the unfair labor practices committed by UC during their year-long bargaining for a first contract,” the Union of American Physicians and Dentists said in a press release. “This marks the first time in 25 years that fully-licensed doctors have gone on strike against a US employer.”

UAPD, which represents the university doctors, argues that the school failed to resolve multiple unfair labor practice charges that were filed throughout the bargaining process. The union filed the charges because the university refused to provide information about its finances.

“In our union’s 43 year history we’ve never needed to strike to compel an employer to treat doctors fairly. Today is a first for us,” Stuart A. Bussey, president of the UAPD, said during the strike. “We’ve been encouraged by the outpouring of support we’ve seen from UC students and other UC workers, and hope it moves UC to return to the table and bargain with doctors in good faith.”

Shelly Meron, a university spokeswoman, challenged the allegations. Meron argues that the unfair labor practice charges have not been proved, and that their most recent contract proposal is a fair one.

“It’s not productive to argue the specific points in the media,” Meron told the San Francisco Chronicle. “The main sticking point in all of this is wages, and our latest proposal has raises that we feel are fair. The issues don’t warrant a strike that will impact students.”

The contract proposal includes a 3.5 percent wage increase as soon as it’s ratified, as well as annual 3 percent increases over the next four years.

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