UC Irvine Student Health Center Doctors Ready to Strike Saturday

Union of American Physicians and Dentists
Unhappy campers (who are doctors).
Doctors at UC Irvine's student health center plan to go on strike Saturday and stay off work until April 15 as part of a labor action by physicians at all 10 University of California campuses, their union recently announced.

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Gustavo's Latest KCRW "OC Line": On the Retirement of Labor Boss Nick Berardino!

Thumbnail image for oceabarbecue.JPG
OC Weekly archives
Since we don't have a good shot of Berardino in our archives, let's go with the OCEA barbecue pit--another Berardino innovation!

We haven't necessarily cheered on all the moves of Orange County Employees Association head Nick Berardino, and you're just gonna have to find them (hint: churros!). But we have always respected the man for bringing true, populist labor politics to a county so hateful of organized labor that everyone declared war on striking Mexican orange pickers in 1936.

Berardino is retiring in July, and he was the topic I discussed this week in my every-Monday KCRW-FM 89.9 "Orange County Line" commentary.

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Hopi Indian Activist Nikishna Polequaptewa Fights Back Against Federal Lawsuit Claims

Categories: Court, Labor

Honors and accolades are plentiful in Nikishina Polequaptewa's life, but the Garden Grove resident and founding director of the American Indian Resource Center at UC Irvine might be in the battle of his life.

In April 2014, Blue Stone Strategy Group, LLC of Irvine hired Polequaptewa as a senior consultant. The relationship soured, however, within six months during a company retreat in Fort Lauderdale. His employers didn't just file a federal lawsuit in late November claiming Polequaptewa stole trade secrets and sabotaged company computer records. They also instigated a preliminary FBI investigation that appears to be ongoing.

But Polequaptewa, who denies wrongdoing, is telling a far different story in court. In his version, he's the victim of company bosses that won his services and then breached their contract by unacceptably demanding he must spend six days a week in Florida for at least half a year.

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OCEA's Jennifer Muir Is the Hammer of OC Labor

Photo by John Gilhooley
Also a major foodie...

In a weird way, Jennifer Muir, assistant general manager of the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA), the county's largest labor union, owes her career to an organization that views organized labor as anathema. After graduating in 2002 from Pepperdine University, where she majored in journalism and Spanish, Muir won a paid internship courtesy of the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS), which was funded by the libertarian Cato Institute.

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Federal Judge, Again, Rejects Sheriff's Refusal To Accept Jury Verdict In War Hero Abuse Case

Jack Gould / OC Weekly
Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) officials have repeatedly refused to accept a jury's 2013 verdict that they discriminated against a deputy who took temporary leave to serve in a U.S. marine scout sniper unit during the Iraq War and earned the prestigious Navy Cross for life-saving, Battle of Baghdad heroics in 2003.

But Scott Montoya--whose military service was brazenly mocked upon his return to OCSD, targeted for loaded internal affairs probes and fired as a person unworthy to wear a deputy's uniform--keeps winning court rulings.

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UC Irvine, UCLA and Labor Leaders Celebrate Orange County Reality Collaboration TONIGHT

Orange County Labor Federation
I'm proud to be a union man.

There's much to celebrate in Buena Park tonight: the two-year-old collaboration between UC Irvine, the UCLA Labor Center and the Orange County Federation of Labor; the launch of the UCI Community and Labor Project (UCICLP); and the evening's honorees AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre, UCI School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and Santa Ana Boys & Men of Color.

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Federal Lawsuit: Illegal, Anti-Military Service Bias Exists In County Counsel's Office

Credit: NPS
A veteran lawyer in the county counsel's office is suing his bosses for illegal retaliation after he served as an honest witness in a case involving alleged anti-military service bias.

Brad Posin claims in his January 26 federal lawsuit that he'd earned excellent performance reviews for a decade until he was interviewed about his observations for a colleague, Robert Ervais, who filed a 2013 lawsuit against the county counsel's office.

Ervais claimed he faced repeated, workplace discrimination because he joined the U.S. Army Reserves after the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) bans public and private employers from using military service as a basis for job discrimination.

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OC Mental Health Workers to Join Statewide Strike Against Kaiser Permanente

Categories: Labor

Mental health workers are primed to picket outside Kaiser Permanente medical centers across California, including OC, starting Monday. The week-long strike calls out the healthcare nonprofit for raking billions in profits without staffing enough therapists for patients in need.

Represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), psychologists, social workers and therapists want more workers so people don't have to be backlogged for weeks in order just to get help.

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Newport Beach Payroll Manager Caught Embezzling Funds Gets Federal Prison

A 53-year-old human resources manager and onetime beauty queen who spent six years slyly embezzling money from her Newport Beach corporate employer this month thought U.S. Department of Justice officials pushed for a "too severe" prison punishment of 41 months.

Claiming she's "very remorseful" and committed her crimes under emotional duress at Trinity Property Consultants, Susan Lynne Chapman hoped for a prison stint of no more than 33 months.

But Assistant United States Attorney Jeannie M. Joseph reported that Chapman--a former Colorado county fair beauty queen who dropped out of high school in the 11th grade--used her control of the company's payroll to steal more than $1.24 million by artificially inflating auto expense allowances, diverting the money to a Surprise, Arizona bank account, and attempting to permanently erase records to block detection.

Chapman used the loot to remodel her home pool, repay a $35,000 loan, pay monthly credit card and mortgage bills, and buy a Harley Davidson motorcycle, according to law enforcement records.

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Raising Minimum Wage Kills Jobs: UCI Study

Categories: Labor, School Daze

Photo by flickr user Samuel Leighton
Don't worry, old man, they don't raise the wages of the workers writing the shit either.
One more reason no one gets raises: Increasing the minimum wage causes long-term job losses, according to UCI Irvine research.

And a hearty bah humbug to ya'll!

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