top of page

Know Your Rights

As a member of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD), AFSCME, AFL-CIO, you have rights that non-union physicians, dentists, and health practitioners and professionals do not have. As your bargaining committee continues to work to secure a contract with the County of Los Angeles – and as we consider our options to escalate our fight – it’s important to know what actions you can legally take as a member of UAPD working past the expiration of our contract with the County of LA.

Doesn’t the County have the right to do whatever they want?

No! Our rights are protected under the County’s Employee Relations Ordinance (ERO), and it is illegal for the County to:

  • Fire, discipline, threaten or harass us for supporting the union.

  • Ask us what we think about the union or force us to discuss our feelings about the union.

  • Threaten to lay employees off or take away wages or benefits if we   support the union.

  • Spy on union activities among employees.

What rights do we have under the County’s ERO?

We have the right to join the UAPD and participate in the activities of our union – known as “concerted activities” – without  interference, restraint, coercion, or discrimination.

What happens if the County violates our rights under the ERO?

Our rights are protected by the ERO. When the employer violates our rights, it’s called an “Unfair Labor Practice” (ULP), and we file charges against them. We also have the legal right to conduct a “ULP strike.”

What is an “Unfair Labor Practice” (ULP)?

LA County commits a ULP when it interferes, restrains, or coerces employees from engaging in any of the activities covered under the Employee Relations Ordinance (ERO). The employer also commits a   ULP when it refuses to bargain in good faith.

What remedies do we have if the County commits a ULP?

Unfair Labor Practice charges are filed with the LA County Employee Relations Committee (ERCOM), which is charged with enforcing the LA County ERO. Specifically, ERCOM has the power to investigate charges of unfair employee relations practices or other violations of the ERO, and to take such action as ERCOM deems necessary to effectuate the policies of the ERO, including, but not limited to, the issuance of cease-and-desist orders.

What if the County continues to commit ULPs?

If the County continues to commit ULPs and we are working under an expired contract (as we currently are), we have the right to strike. In a ULP strike, our jobs are fully protected, and we are entitled to return to work when the strike is over.

Are strikes legally protected?

Strikes by public employees are statutorily protected. The employee’s right to “form, join, and participate in the activities of employee organizations of their own choosing for the purpose of representation on all matters of employer-employee relations” includes a qualified right to strike, subject to a demonstration of a substantial and imminent threat to public health and safety by the employer.  In those circumstances strikes can be limited, for example by requiring certain limited personnel to work to provide essential services. Others would have the right to strike. Those essential services are subject to negotiation with the County. If we cannot resolve those issues ERCOM can step in.

What about our patients if we strike?

Going on strike is always a last resort, and as health care professionals we always need to assure that our patients shall continue to receive the care they need. We will give 10 days’ notice to the County before we go on strike. It will be management’s responsibility to figure it out from there.

Can I be disciplined for participating in a strike?

No. A strike is “protected concerted activity” and it is illegal for an employer to even threaten  you with discipline for striking. If you are disciplined or retaliated against due to participating    in Union Actions, you are entitled to Union Representation. UAPD will represent you and any meetings with the employer and file unfair labor practices against the employer.

Can I lose my health benefits if I strike?

No. A strike is “protected concerted activity” and it is illegal for an employer to remove your health benefits.

Will I get paid if I go on strike?

No, you will not be paid while you are on strike.

What do I do if my supervisor calls me into their office to discuss my Union activity?

If your supervisor calls you into their office to discuss your union participation and infers discipline or retaliatory actions (examples: changing your schedule, denying time off, infer that your are making the wrong choice by supporting the union) you should immediately exercise your Weingarten Rights, which is your right to have a union representative present in the meeting. If your supervisor refuses to grant you your Weingarten Rights, you do not need to answer any questions and you can keep telling your supervisor that you will answer when your representative is present. After the meeting you should call your Union representative immediately. If you do not know your representative, email

When will we go on strike? And for how long will we strike?

After the strike authorization vote is finalized and members vote in favor of a strike, we will not go on strike immediately. The bargaining team will continue to meet and try to reach a resolution at the bargaining table. We will continue to conduct escalated actions.

bottom of page