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Union sends strike notice to Motion Picture & Television Fund

March 09, 2013|By Richard Verrier
  • Hal Alexander, 87, a former TV stage manager and associate director, operates his motorized wheelchair past a photograph of actors Cary Grant and Doris Day, in a hallway at the Motion Picture & Television Fund nursing home and hospital in Woodland Hills.
Hal Alexander, 87, a former TV stage manager and associate director, operates… (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles…)

The union representing healthcare workers at the Motion Picture & Television Fund has informed the charity that it intends to stage a three-day strike.

SEIU-UHW, which represents about 500 nursing staff members and other workers at the Woodland Hills-based retirement community, said it was preparing a walkout between March 18 and 21, citing a lack of progress in contract talks with the fund's management.

"If MPTF continues to bargain in bad faith, stonewall negotiations, and push destructive cuts, more than 500 healthcare workers at seven Los Angeles-area facilities will be striking for three days starting March 19,'' the union said in a statement.

The fund operates long-term care facilities as well as several healthcare clinics that cater to entertainment industry workers. Fund officials said they were informed of the union's plan Friday and expressed surprise at the decision, citing a "productive session with the bargaining unit on Thursday" with a federal mediator and plans for continued negotiations Wednesday.

Since contract talks began in August, the sides have clashed over pay demands by the union, planned changes to the union's pension plan and staffing levels.

"We consider the timing of this regrettable action on SEIU-UHW's part very unfortunate,'' the fund's chief executive, Bob Beitcher, said in a statement. "We have nevertheless continued to bargain in good faith and continue to try to find an avenue toward resolution."

Beitcher said the fund would poll employees Monday and hire replacement workers for any workers who intended to strike in order to continue providing care to the charity's patients. "We must continue our operations which are so essential to those we serve," he added.


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