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Contract talks break off between Motion Picture & TV Fund, union

Workers at the Motion Picture & Television Fund facilities in Woodland Hills are expected to go on strike next week.
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Contract talks broke down between the Motion Picture & Television Fund and the union representing healthcare workers Wednesday, paving the way for a planned strike early next week.

“After extensive good faith bargaining on MPTF’s part, we have reached an impasse,” Bob Beitcher, chief executive of the fund, said in a statement. “No further negotiating sessions have been planned. At this time, we are preparing for a strike that the Union has notified us will start on Monday night March 18th and end Thursday night March 21st. MPTF will be ready to ensure a seamless continuity of services both on and off our campus in a secure environment.”

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The SEIU-UHW represents about 500 nurses, dietary workers, housekeepers and other healthcare workers at the Woodland Hills retirement community.

“We are open to more negotiation if they are willing to come back to the table,” SEIU-UHW spokesman Jarard Kings said. “Our members don’t want to strike but they are ready and willing when the time comes.”

The union had previously given a required 10-day notice to the fund’s managers of its intent to hold a three-day strike next week. Despite the presence of a federal mediator, the two sides have sparred over several issues.

The fund has balked at union demands for pay increases, citing cutbacks in federal reimbursements to nursing homes. The union has resisted proposals to replace its pension plan with a 401(k)-type plan and proposed increases in healthcare premiums for workers. Staffing levels at the long-term-care facility is another point of contention.

Beitcher said the strike will have a minimal impact on the daily operations of the facility and several care clinics that cater to entertainment industry workers. The MPTF has already contracted with a company to replace any workers who go on strike next week, he said.

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“We have completed the polling of our employees and have lined up qualified temporary staffing for a five-day period starting Monday night for those employees who have elected to walk out,” Beitcher said. “Patient and resident safety is and will always be our primary concern and we are confident that our extensive strike preparation will ensure that.”

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