New contract benefits paid out to LAC+USC residents

A tentative contract agreement was reached June 5 and the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors authorized payment Aug. 2. (Photo courtesy of the Department of Health Services)

Benefits outlined in a newly ratified contract between residents at the Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center and L.A. County were paid out to members of the Committee of Interns and Residents/Service Employees International Union Tuesday. The agreement includes a 5.5% pay raise for all represented housestaff during its first year and 3.25% raises for the next two years, along with an increased housing stipend and funds for diversity training initiatives. 

Nearly two months after the contract was tentatively ratified June 5, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Aug. 2 to authorize the payment of $10,000 for the housing allowance and an additional $3,000 for CIR members employed with L.A. County as of June 15. Members also received a $1,375 signing bonus, as voted on during the Board’s June 28 meeting — a payment paid out to 23 SEIU Local 721 bargaining units.

“These payments are the result of good faith negotiations with our labor partners,” wrote L.A. County Chief Executive Officer Fesia A. Davenport in a Board letter Aug. 2. 

Base wage increases that cover cost of living adjustments will be paid out in October and additional payments will kick in October 2023. The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fund has been formed, and the establishment of a committee to administer the funds is underway, said Frances Gill, a second year psychiatry resident at LAC+USC and a member of the resident union’s bargaining team. 

Gill said her co-workers are “so happy” that the contract is now resolved and benefits have been paid out.

“It makes such a big difference in everybody’s lives, especially for the interns who are just starting and probably had to incur a lot of a lot of debt to move across the country and start up a new job,” Gill said. “It’s so expensive to live in Los Angeles.”

CIR/SEIU members advocated for the L.A. County Board of Supervisors contract ratification vote to be agendized following a delay from the tentative ratification. The resident union took several actions — an email campaign that saw more than 500 members email the Board in less than 24 hours and a public comment issued at a Board of Supervisors meeting — in an effort to expedite the resolution process.

A tentative agreement was reached three days after the resident union voted to authorize an unfair labor practice strike that was set to take place between June 13 and June 15. LAC+USC residents alleged bad faith bargaining — including canceled bargaining sessions and little movement on proposals — from L.A. County throughout contract negotiations. 

The CIR/SEIU resident bargaining team was in touch with the L.A. County bargaining unit as of several weeks ago, following the payment authorization vote, while the teams were agreeing to a payout date. 

In an emailed statement to the Daily Trojan, the L.A. County Chief Executive Office wrote that though the three-year contract agreement was reached, the process is awaiting negotiation of the “comprehensive” Memorandum of Understanding, a document that describes in detail expectations and responsibilities between parties. 

“The County and the union have exchanged multiple drafts of the MOU, and the final MOU must also be reviewed by County Counsel, coordinated with the Auditor-Controller, and ratified by the Union’s general membership before being presented to the Board for approval,” the statement read.