Talks at Impasse, MPTF Preps for Caregivers Strike

MPTF says it has lined up temporary support staff

Nurse aides, licensed vocational nurses, medical records workers and other support staff at the Motion Picture and Television Fund's long-term care center and hospital will go on strike next week after talks on a new three-year contract hit an impasse.

The MPTF said that no further negotiating sessions have been planned with the Service Employees International Union, United Healthcare Workers West, which has been representing the caregivers in contract negotiations. The three-day strike will start on March 18.

The SEIU-UHW is representing roughly 500 employees in talks. The union has been frustrated in its efforts to convince the MPTF  to bolster staffing levels.  It has also balked at the MPTF's attempts to raise healthcare premiums and institute a freeze in retirement contributions, which the non-profit has said are essential cuts to maintain the long term economic health of its services.

 "We have been completely transparent with SEIU-UHW with regard to our financial condition," Bob Beitcher, the chief executive officer of the MPTF, said in a statement. "An organization like ours relies heavily on federal and state healthcare reimbursements, and these are shrinking by the moment.  We need to size our costs to fit our anticipated revenues and in so doing we are asking all of our staff to join in a shared sacrifice."

Beitcher said that the hospital and long-term care center has lined up temporary staffing to fill in for employees who will participate in the walk out. 

A spokesman for the SEIU-UHW did not immediately respond to a request for comment.