BRIEFLY

    The California Nurses Association, which represents nurses at the University of California Medical Centers — including the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest, Thornton Hospital in La Jolla, and UCSD’s Student Health clinic — announced they have given notice for a one-day strike set to occur May 29.

    The strike announcement comes after nurses overwhelmingly voted in favor of a strike in their ongoing negotiations with the University of California. Over 8,000 nurses throughout the UC system are expected to participate in the one-day walk out.

    The University of California contends the strike is illegal under state law, unless all formal negotiating procedures have been exhausted or any unfair labor practices have been proven against the university. According to the university, none of these has happened.

    Pay raises are at the heart of the disagreement between the two sides. The UC system is seeking merit pay increases for nurses who are rated “”excellent.”” The CNA is calling for raises based on seniority.

    In addition to raises, the parties disagree on the amount of mandatory overtime nurses should work. The University of California’s current offer limits such overtime to “”exceptional circumstances.”” The CNA says such overtime for “”unspecified ’emergencies'”” harms patients.

    Both sides agree a strike would be unsettling to patients, in terms of rescheduling surgeries and transferring patients to unaffected hospitals.

    The next bargaining session between the two sides is planned for May 22.

    Med school professor to head American Otological Society

    UCSD School of Medicine professor Jeffrey Harris was elected president of the American Otological Society for 2003-2004 on May 11. As director of the UCSD division of otolaryngology/head and neck surgery since 1987, Harris established UCSD as having one of the top 10 such programs in the country. Harris’ leadership qualifications include stints as chief of staff for both the UCSD Medical Center, Hillcrest Medical Center and Thornton Hospital.

    Harris’ research focuses on disorders of the ear, hearing and balance, and tumors of the skull base. He currently leads a large research team that, among other things, investigates the causes of deafness. In the past, he identified federal priorities in hearing research as co-chair of the Expert Panel on Hearing and Hearing Impairment for the National Institutes of Health.

    Harris’ honors include being named an outstanding otolaryngologist by “”American Health Magazine”” and “”Town & Country Magazine”” and being continuously listed as one of the best doctors in America by “”Woodward and White.””

    The American Otological Society was founded in 1969 and remains the second-oldest specialty society in the United States.

    UC Regents extend retirement benefits to domestic partners

    Domestic partners of UC employees who are members of the UC retirement plan will now receive death-related retirement benefits similar to those currently provided to the spouses of married employees, announced the UC Office of the President on Thursday after a vote by the UC Regents. If a UC employee dies before or after retiring from service with the UC system, the eligible domestic partner will now receive benefits.

    Prior to the vote, only UC retirement plan members with spouses or dependent children and parents could qualify for the benefits.

    The UC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association applauded the move, which would provide benefits to same-sex partners that were equal to those of opposite-sex partners. It is estimated that 2 percent of UC employees in the retirement plan have same-sex partners who would qualify under the new rules.

    The new benefits will take effect July 1, 2002 and will not apply to employees who retire on June 30, 2002 or earlier. It is estimated that the move will have a one-time cost of $139 million dollars for the UC retirement plan, with a $7 million annual cost afterward.

    UC study abroad applications keep rising despite 9-11

    The UC Education Abroad Program announced that participation in the program is expected to increase 20 percent since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

    If current enrollment trends continue, as they are expected to, approximately 5,700 students will enroll in abroad programs during the 2002-2003 academic year.

    Since 1999, enrollment in programs abroad has increased by at least 16 percent.

    Europe continues to be the most popular destination; over 50 percent of UC students will study there this year. Spain leads all countries with 500 UC students. Four hundred students will study in Great Britain as well.

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