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Union Hospital Workers Picket UC Sites for Better Wages

Health care workers held an informational picket at three University of California campus sites in San Diego on Feb. 28.

It is the fourth picketing effort that UC workers across the state have held since contract negotiations began in August, according to Lakesha Harrison, union president.

“We wanted to bring public attention to what we’re fighting for,” she said.

The union (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299) has expressed concern about pay rates for the 20,500 members employed by UC statewide.

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There are 2,500 to 3,000 employees represented by the union that are on staff at UC San Diego. Pickets were held at the La Jolla, Thornton and Hillcrest sites.

According to the union, wages are 25 percent to 30 percent lower than at other hospital campuses. Union members include health workers, custodians, service workers, bus drivers, groundskeepers and security officers.

Harrison said that workers who are trained at UC sites often move to other health care organizations for better pay.

She said, “It’s a serious issue that can affect patient care.”

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Site Helps Nurses Find Teaching Positions:

A new Web site pairs registered nurses with local community colleges to fill teaching positions.

The site, www.rnteaching.org, went live last summer, thanks to a partnership between the El Cajon office of the Regional Health Occupations Resource Center and five community colleges in San Diego County.

“About four to five years ago, we noticed a serious crisis developing with the shortage of nurses,” said Bob Yarris, the local RHORC director. “There was an equally critical crisis in nursing faculty.”

The project was funded by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office and cost about $20,000 to create the curriculum and design the website.

Once online, nurses can fill out an application, take a required certification course and then wait to hear back from interested parties. There is no cost involved.

Included colleges are Grossmont College, Southwestern College, San Diego City College, MiraCosta College and Palomar College.

RHORC is a nonprofit organization that employs two staff members at the San Diego and Imperial counties office located at Grossmont College.

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Hospital District Group Issues First Annual Report:

Another program affiliated with Grossmont College had news regarding its international health care program.

The San Diego Welcome Back Center, which helps workers from other countries find health care jobs in the United States, will now offer review courses for the licensing exam through the UC San Diego Extension, it announced Feb. 28.

The WBC currently has available courses at Grossmont College, Grossmont Health Occupations Center and WBC’s Bonita office.

Physicians from other countries are required to pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination to work in the United States.

WBC is a nonprofit that helps internationally trained health care professionals get medical work in the United States.


Send health care news to Jaimy Lee at

jlee@sdbj.com

. She may also be reached at (858) 277-6359, ext. 3107.

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