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Motion Picture & Television Fund Employees Could Strike

Negotiations between the fund and employees union were ongoing Thursday.

Union employees at the Motion Picture & Television Fund's retirement home and hospital have voted to authorize a strike, but negotiations were still ongoing, as of Thursday.

"Our members are united and willing to move forward,'' said Jarard Kings, spokesman for Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, which represents about 500 staffers at the medical facilities in Woodland Hills.

According to Kings, the biggest point of contention is the ratio of caregivers to patients. Currently, he said, there is one nurse for every dozen patients, which makes for "really difficult" workloads at the 185-bed facility.

The union proposal is one caregiver per eight patients, Kings said.

Other issues include frozen retirement contributions and increased health care premiums, the union spokesman said.

MPTF management did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The SEIU-UHW members' contract, finalized in 2008, expired in October and has twice been extended, Kings said. He said that nearly all of the 300 union employees that voted this week approved of a strike if required. However, the official added, talks with MPTF management are continuing.

Hollywood titans Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen announced in October that they would each donate $30 million to the MPTF in support of charitable programs and health services.

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