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LA County doctors, dentists and veterinarians contemplate strike

LA County doctors contemplate strike
LA County doctors contemplate strike 00:42

Physicians, dentists, psychiatrists and veterinarians held a rally in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday as they considered a strike against the county. 

For the past two years, the doctors, who are represented by the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD), have been entangled in a drawn-out negotiation to get their members at L.A. County's departments of Health Services, Mental Health, Medical Examiner, Fire and Animal and Care and Control a new contract. However, the protracted talks culminated in very little, as the two sides failed to reach an agreement before the current deal expired on Sept. 30. 

During the rally, the union implored the Board of Supervisors to implement a better healthcare package for their doctors — claiming it would help with their problem of recruiting and retaining healthcare professionals.

"We've lost many of the positions. They're not coming here, they're not staying here," UAPD President Dr. Stuart Bussey said. "We need better healthcare benefits so they will stay in Los Angeles County. They're dedicated people but they need to be taken care of."

The union claims that many departments have more than 50% of job openings remaining vacant. At L.A. County Jails, staff operate with a skeleton crew of psychiatrists as the department struggles to fill 70% of its vacancies. 

Additionally, the union called for the county to enroll in the State Disability Insurance Program to entice more female healthcare professionals into the departments. UAPD implored the Board to enroll in the program and offer some sort of supplemental disability insurance to help female physicians with family planning. 

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