By Doug Porter
More than 2,000 hospital workers at UC San Diego are planning on staying home from work for a couple of days (May 21 & 22) this week. Vocational nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacy technicians, bus drivers and custodians will go on strike Tuesday following nearly a year of failed negotiations. Their last contract expired in September.
Depending on who’s talking, the 30,000 workers at five University of California health centers are about to walk off the job (or honor the picket lines of those who do strike) are motivated by demands that the UC Medical System stop prioritizing profit over quality patient care OR a refusal by the union to agree to UC’s pension reforms.
The pending strike is NOT just about higher pay, as is being reported in the mass media. Demands by management that workers increase their contribution to pensions funds have been countered by the union’s complaints about soaring executive compensation in the UC system.
University of California Patient Care Technical Workers — members of AFSCME Local 3299 –have overwhelmingly voted (97%) to go on strike. Health care workers represented by University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE) have said they plan to honor the strike and will not cross the picket lines.
Foodservice, custodial and storekeeping workers at UCLA, and possibly other campuses, who are represented by separate AFSCME affiliates may also walk out on Tuesday, according to the Daily Bruin.
The Sacramento Business Journal reports the California Public Employment Relations Board will ask today for an injunction to order 400 key employees to cross picket lines, which are expected at the La Jolla-area UC hospital, as well as at UC campuses at Irvine, Los Angeles, Davis and San Francisco.
Representatives of the unions say they have identified their own set of key workers who will be told to cross picket lines to ensure patient safety. UC system representatives told the news media on Friday that the strike “would pose an imminent threat to public health and safety and would improperly withhold health care from members of the public.”
The UC Medical system has $6.9 billion in annual operating revenues and, even though it is technically a non-profit organization, estimates of its net profits run into hundred of millions of dollars. Since 2009, management has increased in size by 38%, adding $100 million annually to the payroll.
At the same time, reductions in staffing are taking a toll on line employees. UC San Francisco has announced a 4% reduction in staffing, cuts that its CEO admits is driven by the need to free up resources for new construction.
As with every labor dispute, there are two sides to this story. Unfortunately it would appear that this town’s notoriously lazy reporters are on track to only tell management’s side. This walkout is not about a pay raise – both sides agree that an increase in pay is part of any settlement – it’s about a lot of things, not the least of which is a growing sense by the employees in the UC Medical system that their voices are not being heard..
Saving the Children from Harvey Milk
The Sacramento Bee reports that SaveCalifornia.com has purchased radio ads urging parents to keep their children home from school on Wednesday, May 22nd, lest their minds be corrupted by commemorations in honor of gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk.
Over 100 hourly radio spots have been bought in Sacramento and Los Angeles. The group’s president, Randy Thomasson, told the media: “This is harmful to children. This is not academic, it’s brainwashing.” From the Bee:
Milk served less than one year on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors as the first openly gay elected official in California before he was fatally shot in 1978 along with Mayor George Moscone by colleagueDan White. Milk’s life was depicted in the Academy Award-winning movie “Milk.” In 2009, the state Legislature designated Milk’s birthday, May 22, as a “day of special significance.”
The law encourages schools to conduct “suitable commemorative exercises” that commemorate Milk’s life.
Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, an openly gay legislator from San Francisco, called SaveCalifornia.com’s efforts “pathetic.”
Another Reason for Republicans to Oppose ObamaCare
Not much need for any commentary here. From KPBS:
Millions of Californians will get the chance to register at the same time they are buying insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment begins in October.
The Secretary of State formally designated Covered California as a voter registration agency this week.
The latest polls from CNN and Gallop are in, and the results are not exactly what the GOP was hoping to hear. They’ll have to delay printing up those NOBAMA tee shirts for the impeachment hearings for a while. From Politicususa:
The latest CNN/ORC poll reveals that President Obama’s approval rating has gone up by two points from 51% in April to 53% today, while his disapproval rating has fallen by two points from 47% to 45%. While 85% of those polled agree that the IRS targeted of political groups is very or somewhat important issue, by a margin of 61%-37% respondents believed that President Obama’s statements on the matter have been completely mostly true. (That 37% number comes up a lot in polling. It represents the higher end of the number of self-identified conservatives/Republicans in the country.)
And for those Republicans earnestly hoping to tar Hillary Clinton’s image with the Benghazi hearings, you should know that the latest PPP survey also shows an increase (albeit slight) in her popularity.
A Great Leap Forward
Voice of San Diego made a big move this morning, one that bears watching for both its successes and failures.
Like it or not, the non-profit model created by VOSD has been closely scrutinized by medianoids as an example of what the future could hold for disseminating news. They’ve certainly tried a bunch of approaches with varying degrees of success.
This latest transformation involves changing the platform VOSD uses to present itself. They’ve joined the world of WordPress, an internet dias used by many bloggers (including SDFP), with some significant add-ons. Think Reddit meets Facebook Newsfeed meets Twitter with a news platform thrown in for good measure.
I’ve only doinked around a bit, but what I’ve seen looks like a big improvement. The big question I have is ‘will anybody who’s not web-centered get it?’ I hope so, mostly because I think the media has to push beyond its current dimensions and because I like new toys to play with.
Now if they could just do something about all that content I disagree with…
Speaking of Content…
Two Democrats are slinging mud. It’s ugly. So ugly I’d decided to back off covering the contest a while ago. I can’t even hold my nose and get near this sh*t.
But then the UT-San Diego entered the fray, with a Saturday morning editorial that would have us to believe their candidate (notice I’m not using any names here) was being victimized. Apparently the Lincoln Club’s lies are less odious that the Labor Council’s.
One commenter nailed it:
I can’t speak to the honesty or integrity of either candidate but I find it amusing that the UT has endorsed one of the candidates because they believe the other candidate has sent out a mailer the UT believes is deceitful. I wonder where this sentiment was last fall when the UT endorsed DeMaio for Mayor.
You want to know the irony here? Whoever wins this contest will have to run again next year. And chances are it will be the same names on the ballot.
Squealing Like a Stuck Pig
Sorry gang, that train left the station a decade ago. From Julian Sanchez at Mother Jones:
It wouldn’t be surprising if there were more cases like this we’ve never heard about. Here’s why: The Justice Department’s rules only say the media must be informed about “subpoenas” for “telephone toll records.” The FBI’s operations guidelines interprets those rules quite literally, making clear the requirement “concerns only grand jury subpoenas.” That is, these rules don’t apply to National Security Letters, which are secret demands for information used by the FBI that don’t require judicial approval. The narrow FBI interpretation also doesn’t cover administrative subpoenas, which are issued by federal agencies without prior judicial review. Last year, the FBI issued NSLs for the communications and financial records of more than 6,000 Americans—and the number has been far higher in previous years. The procedures that do apply to those tools have been redacted from publicly available versions of the FBI guidelines. Thus, it’s no shocker the AP seizure would seem like an “unprecedented intrusion” if the government doesn’t think it has to tell us about the precedents. And there’s no telling if the Justice Department rules (and the FBI’s interpretation) allow the feds to seize without warning other types of electronic communications records that could reveal a journalist’s e-mail, chat, or Web browsing activity.
Is it paranoid to fear the Justice Department and the FBI are sidestepping the rules? Consider a case first reported in 2008, and discussed at length in a damning (but heavily redacted) 2010 report from the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General. In this instance, the FBI obtained nearly two years of phone records for lines belonging to Washington Post and New York Times bureaus and reporters—even though the FBI had initially requested records covering only seven months. In what the OIG called a “serious abuse of the FBI’s authority to obtain information,” agents seized these records under false pretenses, “without any legal process or Attorney General approval.” And these records remained in the FBI’s database for over three years before the OIG or the press found out.
It gets worse. The OIG report noted that the FBI had made “community of interest” requests to phone carriers; these requests sweep in not only the target’s call records, but those of people the target has spoken with—which can include reporters. Such requests can provide investigators an incredibly revealing portrait of entire social networks. Yet the OIG found that agents used boilerplate requests for information from the carriers; some claimed they submitted the requests without actually knowing exactly what “community of interest” meant, and even when they did it didn’t necessarily occur to them that they were likely to obtain reporter records through such requests. In other words, FBI agents often made these requests without fully understanding what they were requesting.
Check Out the SDFree Press Calendar
Thanks to the efforts of Brent Beltrán, the San Diego Free Press now has an on-line calendar of events. You can see events in the arts, performances and political gatherings of every persuasion by clicking on the ‘Calendar’ Tab at the top of the page. To get your event listed, drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
On This Day: 1932 – Amelia Earhart took off to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She became the first woman to achieve the feat. 1960 – Alan Freed, a disc jockey, was indicted for income tax evasion stemming from payola. 1961 – A white mob attacked the Freedom Riders in Montgomery, AL. The event prompted the federal government to send U.S. marshals.
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