Letter to UCSF Health from Mark Laret, President & CEO of UCSF Health

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Dear Colleagues,
On October 23, we will head into the second strike this year across the University of California (UC). I’m aware there is some confusion about UC's negotiations with the unions, particularly around retirement options, as well as how these labor actions impact our organization.
Many of you have an important decision to make about participating on the picket lines. While I respect everyone’s right to freedom of speech, including striking, there also are a few things I want you to consider. 
#1: UC is not proposing taking away or changing the pension of current employees.
And, UC is offering new employees choices to fund their retirement plans. New employees still can select the pension, and they also have another option: a 401(k)-style plan. 
Many employees at UC, and across the country, are asking for more flexibility in how they can save for retirement.  Unlike the pension, with the 401(k)-style plan, you can transfer your retirement savings to another employer. 
Few employers still offer pensions, much less a choice. Only you know which retirement benefit is right for you, depending on your goals and how long you plan to work at UC. Please look at this fact sheet for more information.
#2: UC is handling negotiations with the unions, not me or any other campus or medical center leader. The UC Office of the President, with guidance from our campus, is responsible for negotiating contracts with all system-wide bargaining units.
#3: UC, and UCSF, are committed to compensating employees fairly and competitively with the market, including health care and retirement benefits that are among the most generous in the Bay Area. In fact, UC’s offers to bargaining units ensure our employees are compensated at least at the market level, if not above. Here's an example.

 #4: Strikes take a heavy toll on everyone - patients, families, clinicians and employees. During the strike in May, thousands of patient appointments were cancelled, delayed, or rescheduled, and some of our patients diverted to other hospitals. Scheduled procedures, including those to treat serious conditions, were delayed.
Staff and clinicians who came to work put in extra time, coordinating care with qualified, but unfamiliar professionals. They also spent months preparing for the strike and weeks rescheduling patient appointments. Patients who needed to be seen in our facilities received safe care, but it was not an ideal situation.
I urge you to do as much research as possible and weigh all factors, as you decide what action to take next week. While I respect this is a highly personal decision, it is my hope that everyone comes to work to care for our patients.
As always, thank you for all that you do for UCSF Health, and the patients we are privileged to serve.
Mark R. Laret
President and CEO
UCSF Health