UC doctors strike for first time in 25 years

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SAN DIEGO - Doctors across the state’s UC campuses, including those at UC San Diego, joined a strike Tuesday claiming unfair labor practices.

The hope to increase funding for mental health services to all ten UC campuses. Fully licensed doctors have not picketed a U.S. employer in 25 years, according to representatives of the UC schools. It's also the first strike in the 43-year history of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists.

"Obviously, we're disappointed that the union has chosen to go on strike,'' said Shelly Meron, a spokeswoman for the UC president's office.

Ten doctors at UC San Diego's campus are expected to participate in the one-day strike, which starts at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday on the Library Walk near the Geisel Libary. In total, 150 health center doctors will strike across the state.

Doctors at the student health clinics unionized in 2013 and have been in negotiations on their first contract for over a year, said the UAPD. Doctors have filed multiple unfair labor practice charges against the UC system for what they consider to be illegal behavior at the bargaining table.

A "strike is the only way to compel UC to follow the laws that govern bargaining,'' said UAPD President Dr. Stuart Bussey. "Unfortunately, UC has a history of disrespecting workers during negotiations, and we're no exception to that.''

University officials say the health center will be staffed during the strike, though some routine, non-emergency appointments might have to be rescheduled.

"We think the best way to reach a resolution is at the bargaining table, not the picket line,'' Meron said.

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