SDHSA’s PROGRESS: RESPONSE TO COVID-19 ISSUES

April 21, 2020: As you should know, SDHSA filed a formal Grievance with UCSD on March 30, 2020 bringing to UCSD’s attention the numerous health, safety, employment and academic issues that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. SDHSA’s expeditious response and airing of the concerns of UCSD’s House Staff is resulting in changes and progress on many fronts. What we have seen is that this awareness is reverberating from the local level to UC System-Wide and even national consciousness and action.

SDHSA’s Grievance brought focus and attention to many current issues including: Paid Sick Time Off And UCSD’s Culture Of Discouraging House Staff From Utilizing Accrued Sick Time; The Urgent Need For Adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and for Transparent PPE Policies, COVID-19 Priority Testing And Treatment For House Staff, Hazard Pay, Free Lodging And Other Benefits For House Staff, A Move To Not Penalize House Staff For ACGME Training Requirements, and The Need Guard Against Fear of Retaliation.  

Progress has been made as SDHSA continues to push for additional improvement in these areas. Notably, many changes have been made system wide after SDHSA filed their Grievance. On April 2, 2020, three days after the Grievance was filed, UCOP issued a letter stating “[w]e are keenly aware of the health concerns and economic uncertainty weighing on the entire University community…” On April 3, 2020, UCSD issued “Lodging for Caregivers” which provided free lodging for House Staff per UCSD guidelines. On April 7, 2020, UCSD issued new employee testing, exposure and return-to-work guidelines, stating if you have symptoms to stay home. UCSD also instituted some communication/transparency to SDHSA regarding supplies through PULSE. SDHSA is still waiting for UCSD’s formal written response to the Grievance.

In addition, SDHSA’s letter to ACGME on March 31, 2020, urged for more oversight of compliance with ACGME institutional requirements including proper safety and PPE, compliance with work hours and other rules governing institutions. The impact of which was evident by the ACGME directives issued on April 5, 6, 9, 10, and 13th stating that they expect institutions to comply with strict requirements of PPE, supervision, and adherence to work hour requirements. Further, on April 14, 2020, ACGME responded directly to SDHSA thanking us for our letter.

Furthermore, SDHSA’s letter to Mayor of San Diego on March 31, 2020, urged for more assistance with PPE, funding and local governmental support. In response, on April 2 and 9th, 2020 the Mayor called for local manufacturing of protective gear and started using 3D printers at the San Diego library to make PPE. SDHSA’s letter to Governor Newsom on March 31, 2020, urged for more assistance to healthcare workers, PPE, emergency expenses related to COVID-19 including protection for healthcare workers families and sick leaves, childcare for frontline workers, and additional pay. In response, on April 4, 2020, Governor Newsom signed an executive order to expand childcare access for essential workers and launched a website for donations and sales of PPE. On April 7, 2020, Governor Newsom issued an order to help procure PPE. On April 9, 2020, Governor Newsom announced free and low-cost hotel rooms for healthcare workers who are exposed to protect their families. As of April 11, 2020, CARES act provides an additional $600 per week for those people that have exhausted all leaves and have to remain out of work. There is still much work to be done but helped by the efforts of SDHSA, changes have been made. Together we are stronger and will continue to ensure the health and safety of our members.

2019-20 Salary Increases

Dear Members,

Look forward to your 3% salary increases and other improved benefits for academic year 2019-20, starting with the July 2019 paycheck (disbursed August 1). The salary table we are providing here serves as an estimate and may be off by a minimal amount depending on whether UC’s payroll system is rounding up/down.

For academic year 2019-2020, the Housing Stipend for all House Staff covered positions will be $5,900. Represented House Staff shall be paid the Housing Stipend noted above in two (2) equal payments of 50% of the total academic year amount, with the first half-payment occurring on October 1 of the academic year, and the second half-payment occurring on February 1. To be eligible for the first distribution, the Represented House Staff individual must be active in the payroll system as of September 1 of the contract/academic year and on active payroll status at the time of disbursement. To be eligible for the second distribution, the Represented House Staff individual must be active in the payroll system as of January 10 of the contract/academic year and on active payroll status at the time of disbursement.

An Education Stipend in the amount of $500 per Represented House Staff individual shall be paid by October 1. In order to be eligible for the stipend, the Represented House Staff individual must be active in the payroll system as of September 1 of the contract/academic year.

My Extra Pay – Explanation?

The SDHSA completed negotiations on a new Labor Contract (“MOU”) between UCSD House Staff and UCSD in October of 2018. Among the many details, this new MOU includes: An annual Housing Stipend ($5,800 for 2018-2019 with half to be paid in December and the second half to be paid in February); an annual Educational Stipend ($500 to be paid in December) and a 3.1% Wage Raise for each PGY scale with Back Pay to July 1, 2018. The MOU was fully executed on October 10, 2018.

The SDHSA continues to diligently pursue protecting your benefits and rights. As always – we will keep the House Staff informed whenever we receive updated information. If you feel that you are being denied proper pay and/or benefits – please contact us and we will look into it ASAP.

UCSD Fellows are NOW represented by the SDHSA! 

PERB Orders Fellows Added to SDHSA Unit

We got some great news – UCSD Fellows are now officially represented by the San Diego House Staff Association. On April 25, 2018, California’s Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) issued an Order adding UCSD Fellows to its unit, UCSD Housestaff. See PERB Case No. SF-UM-799-H.

SDHSA wishes to thank the SDHSA Board of Directors and the SDHSA Fellows’ Committee who invested the time and energy to make this a reality. In addition, we want to thank all of the UCSD Fellows that took the time out of their busy schedules to vote in the election last November. The SDHSA Negotiating Team including representatives of the Fellows is commencing negotiations for the 2018-2021 Contract. We look forward to seeing all the Fellows at our SDHSA Events!

Short History

When SDHSA was originally formed (prior to becoming a union), it represented both UCSD Residents and Fellows. For historical reasons, UCSD Fellows were left out of the original petition to California’s Public Employment Relations Board (PERB)  [https://www.perb.ca.gov/] seeking representation of UCSD’s Interns and Residents. Over time, it became apparent that these historical reasons were no longer of significant relevance and had resulted in the Fellows being denied many of the benefits SDHSA had negotiated for Residents. Over the years, SDHSA has sought to include the Fellows under SDHSA’s umbrella and formally proposed inclusion during the negotiations for 2015-2018 Contract. Inclusion was opposed by UCSD.

Finally in March of 2017, the SDHSA decided to force the issue by conducting an on-line vote of UCSD Fellows. The result of that vote was that ninety-five (95%) of the ballots were in favor of SDHSA being the Fellows’ exclusive labor representative. Thereafter, SDHSA formally requested that UCSD voluntarily recognize SDHSA the Fellows’ labor representative. UCSD declined. Unfortunately SDHSA’s original petition to PERB was rejected by a PERB on a technicality who on appeal ruled that only “wet” signatures were acceptable.

SDHSA and the UCSD Fellows’ Committee were not deterred. In November of 2017, UCSD finally agreed to participate in a jointly monitored vote of the UCSD Fellows. The result of that was that one-hundred percent (100%) of the Fellows who voted elected to be represented by the SDHSA as their exclusive labor representative. The matter was again required to be submitted to PERB. PERB found that SDHSA had a valid vote of a majority of the Fellows. Finally on April 25, 2018, PERB issued an Order adding UCSD Fellows to its unit, UCSD Housestaff. See PERB Case No. SF-UM-799-H. As a result, SDHSA is now the exclusive labor representative of UCSD Fellows in Title Codes 2726 and 2732.

Negotiations

Representation of the Fellows had taken on some urgency. SDHSA negotiations for a new Contract began in February of 2018, for the Contract period 2018-2021. UCSD will have to accept representatives of the Fellows in these negotiations.

In regard to various benefits, the Fellows were formerly not covered under SDHSA’s contract. Historically, this resulted in the Fellows being denied many benefits. The benefit which receives the most attention is the Housing Stipend. Yet, the benefits and protections offered by SDHSA representation can be thought of as a “bundle” of rights of which the Housing Stipend is only one. If you would like to contribute to our efforts, the SDHSA Fellows’ Committee can use all the help it can get!

Your Right to Report Without Retaliation

Existing law provides for the licensure and regulation of health facilities, as defined, by the department. Existing law prohibits a health facility from discriminating or retaliating against a patient, employee, member of the medical staff, or any other health care worker of the health facility because that person has presented a grievance, complaint, or report to the facility, as specified, or has initiated, participated, or cooperated in an investigation or administrative proceeding related to the quality of care, services, or conditions at the facility, as specified. Existing law makes a person who willfully violates those provisions guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $20,000 and makes a violation of those provisions subject to a civil penalty. Recent legislation has increased the maximum fine for a misdemeanor violation of these provisions to $75,000. See California Health and Safety Code Section 1278.5

GC 3587 Report

Pursuant to California Government Code Section 3587, the San Diego House Staff Association makes available to UCSD employees, who are current members of the SDHSA, its annual Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss Statement for the last fiscal year, upon a written request made to Paul Mirowski, Mirowski & Associates, 8030 La Mesa Blvd., # 501, La Mesa CA 91942. Any questions, please direct them to Paul Mirowski pmirowski@mirlaw.com.