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CA Public Employees Making $343K a Year Threaten to Strike

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Almost half of the jobs for doctors and psychiatrists in California prisons are unfilled. Now, their union says it’s ready to strike over pay even as the state faces a steep budget deficit. (CalMatters/Miguel Gutierrez Jr.)
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Some of California’s highest-paid public employees are in an intensifying labor battle with the Newsom administration over staffing shortages at state prisons and hospitals that workers say endanger patients and staff.


Kristen Hwang
CalMatters

The union representing doctors and psychiatrists working in California correctional facilities said that 91% of voting members authorized a strike Monday.

Non-competitive salaries, strenuous working conditions and an overreliance on higher-paid contracted doctors, make it difficult to hire staff physicians, said Dr. Stuart Bussey, president of the umbrella Union of American Physicians and Dentists.

“We’d like to settle this thing without (striking), but our members are prepared to act,” Bussey said.

A strike authorization does not mean workers will not show up to work, although it could lead to a strike. Negotiations began in March, and the union’s contract expired on July 1. The state and its physicians remain “very far apart,” Bussey said.

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