October 28, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Orange County, CA – About 200 union members and supporters picketed UC Irvine Medical Center Oct. 18 to protest the layoffs of 175 hospital workers that began earlier this month.
The hospital, one of five run by the University of California system, is getting rid of 3.5% of its workforce. “I don’t really know if this will give us our jobs back, but at least I said something,” said Berenice Ramirez, 27, a secretary in the surgical department who will lose her job Nov. 7. “I love my job. I’m working here because I want to become a surgeon.” Management said the layoffs are being made to avoid costs exceeding operating revenue. “They should actually be adding more frontline staff,” Kathryn Lybarger, president of American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 3299, told the Orange County Register. Among the workers being laid off are Spanish-language medical interpreters, who will be replaced “with a phone service that doesn’t do nearly as well or really save them any money,” said Jelger Kalmijn, president of University Professional and Technical Employees Local 9119. Read more