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UW School of Dentistry staff demands budget accountability

The following is from SEIU Local 925:

SEATTLE (May 11, 2018) — SEIU 925 union members and faculty on Wednesday urged the University of Washington Board of Regents to institute transparency and accountability at the state’s only dental school. The UW School of Dentistry, facing a $42 million deficit due to mismanagement, recently terminated dozens of workers.

“These layoffs threaten patients’ continuity of care and unfairly overwork our staff,” said Chalet White, a School of Dentistry patient representative in attendance. “Many families rely on us for quality, affordable care. The administration must address its fiscal failures without harming staff or patients.”

Victoria Smalley, a Patient Service Specialist in the dental clinic, once worked in an area that was fully staffed. Now many of the key positions essential to patient care are left empty because they are not getting approved to be filled when someone quits or retires. This hurts staff and patients. The School of Dentistry currently has over 3,000 patients on waiting lists!  “Our patients deserve better, and so do we,” she said.

Faculty and staff at the School of Dentistry, other unions, and community groups rallied Wednesday before the Board of Regents meeting to demand that UW take concrete steps to demonstrate that it is the community pillar and good neighbor it says it wants to be.

Wednesday’s rally outside of Gerberding Hall featured calls for no more layoffs at the School of Dentistry; a stop to closure and privatization of UW Medicine’s laundry facility; a stop to the moving of the psych unit to NW Hospital because it will make it less accessible to students; and a free transit pass for UW employees. Union leaders and community members called on the University of Washington to value students, staff, and the public good as the campus expands.

The crowd then entered the Board of Regents meeting, where several people spoke at the public hearing.

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 925 represents nearly 6,000 employees at the University of Washington, including at the School of Dentistry.

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