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Organizing Update - UCLA Healthcare Workers Join UPTE

08 Jun, 2023

Community Health Workers in Venice Win a Voice and a Seat at the Table as New UPTE Union Members

Congratulations and welcome to the 50 newest UCLA healthcare workers who joined UPTE in March. These members provide case management, counseling services, patient care advocacy, substance use navigation, and other medical and behavioral health services to patients at the Venice Family Clinic.

"We overcame hurdles for all of us to come together, staying strong and organizing in the hope of being part of a union—to be a part of UPTE. After a hard battle, we were able to unite our coworkers in the fight and gain the upper hand with UC," said Rose Dominguez, who works at the Venice Family Clinic and helped lead the effort to join UPTE. "We eagerly look forward to sitting down at the bargaining table soon to discuss ways we can make Venice Family Clinic a better place to work. We deserve fair wages, and our patients deserve nothing less than quality care."

This victory is the culmination of a more than two-year effort by these workers. They signed up a supermajority of coworkers as union members, took part in a call-in action to UCLA Health's CEO asking for quick resolution, and met with the Venice Family Clinic's administration to press for support.

These workers perform critical healthcare duties at a significantly lower rate of pay than many of their UCLA peers, with some earning as low as $16.09/hr. When non-union clinicians are paid lower in the UC system than UPTE members, it undermines our work to improve wages, benefits, and working conditions, while incentivizing UC to misclassify workers and attempt to keep them out of our union.

Workers at VFC will now bargain for new wages as UPTE members within UC. As members of our union, they will also gain access to full retirement five years earlier than unrepresented workers at UC and receive guaranteed raises and step increases for the remainder of our contract, totaling up to 32% over the five-year life of our last agreement. Welcome to UPTE!

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