The union representing employees at the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s retirement home and hospital announced today it has given a federally required notice that its members could go on strike for three days, beginning as early as next week.
“The last thing we want to do is strike,” according to Saida Ramos, a nurse and member of the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, which represents about 500 staffers at the medical facilities at seven Los Angeles-area facilities.
“But if that’s what it takes to force our employer to bargain in good faith to protect our residents and make sure they can continue to get the care they need, we unfortunately will have to take that step.”
MPTF CEO Bob Beitcher said he was surprised and disappointed by the union’s plans, saying the two sides recently had a productive bargaining session with a federal mediator, and more talks are scheduled for Wednesday.
He said “we consider the timing of this regrettable action on SEIU-UHW’s part very unfortunate.”
“During the bargaining period, we have provided SEIU-UHW with all of the information requested and while they have not reciprocated, we have nevertheless continued to bargain in good faith and continue to try to find an avenue toward resolution,” Beitcher said.
“All of MPTF’s employees, those represented and those who are not, contribute to the outstanding services we provide,” he said. “We must continue our operations which are so essential to those we serve.”
Beitcher said MPTF officials have begun polling workers to determine how many plan to take part in the walkout, and the fund “will initiate plans to replace those who are choosing to honor the strike.”
Negotiations between the fund and the union have been continuing since August. The union’s contract expired in October has been extended twice.
The union has been pushing for a one-to-eight staffing-to-patient ratio, with the union contending the ratio has been as high as one-to-12.
Union members voted in January to authorize a strike.
Union officials said the planned three-day walkout could begin at 11 p.m., March 18 and would affect seven MPTF facilities.