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ORANGE : UCI Medical Center Picketed Over Talks

About 30 medical technicians and supporters picketed UCI Medical Center for an hour Tuesday to demand a raise.

At one point a security guard threatened to have demonstrators arrested for disturbing the peace, but the pickets dispersed peacefully, said psychiatric technician Les Lyon, president of the technicians’ union.

The technicians carried signs that said: “First Class Hospital--Second Class Wages,” and “Mary Piccione--You Got A Good Raise. Now We’d Like One.”

Piccione, director of the medical center, earned $136,163 annually until December, when her pay was boosted to $143,600 a year, a medical center spokeswoman said.

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By contrast, Lyon said, the 714 members of his union--a mix of licensed vocational nurses, ward clerks and medical technicians--earn $1,400 to $3,000 a month.

Talks reached an impasse March 30, with union leaders seeking a 6% wage increase and administrators offering an average of 2.9%, Lyon said. Medical center officials could not be reached for comment.

Lyon vowed to picket again soon if there is no movement in talks: “We’ve got to call some attention to this. This is my third year without a raise, and I’m looking at a 1% increase in salary. There’s reason enough to be angry.”


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