Doctors Catch More Organizing Fever

by | Feb 23, 2023 | Bargaining/Negotiations, Healthcare, SEIU, Strikes, Union Organizing

Nearly a year ago, we told you about how the doctor might soon be in the union house, and that contagion has led to a full-on outbreak. Although still considered infrequent for physicians to organize, a trend is developing. Tellingly as well, the top of the medical salary block increasingly feels the need for representation:

  • 1,400 Penn Medicine resident physicians cited 80-hour workweeks while hoping to become the first group of doctors to join a union in Pennsylvania. Chief among complaints are the doctors’ weariness at picking up additional shifts without compensation in what they say are grueling conditions, even without Covid-19.
  • University Of Illinois, Chicago Health physicians and fellows joined the Committee of Interns and Residents branch of the SEIU. Nine months later, they’re still pushing through first contract negotiations.
  • 150 Allina Health Mercy Hospital doctors wish to form the first physicians-only union in Minnesota as part of the Doctors Council SEIU. They cite burnout and a heavier workload after droves of support staff left the profession.
  • 15 Providence Medford Medical Center ER doctors formed the Southern Oregon Providers Association while citing understaffing and safety concerns as key reasons for seeking collective bargaining.

In slightly brighter news, the six-month Kaiser Permanent strike in Hawaii is finally over after blowing past the record for the longest mental health worker strike in the U.S. And here’s a roundup of nurse-involved labor news:

  • University of Wisconsin Health felt a setback from the state supreme court in their search to join the SEIU. Recently, the group threatened a three-day strike, which was narrowly averted by intervention of Gov. Tony Evers.
  • George Washington University Hospital nurses are organizing with the goal of forming the District of Columbia Nurses Association.
  • Miami V-A Medical Center nurses went on strike after 146 of their colleagues quit their jobs since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Half of Washington state nurses who answered a poll expressed their wishes to leave the professionsooner rather than later.

Nursing homes continue to be ground central for worker strife. Following a rash of worker walkouts at Pennsylvania long-term care facilities, 13 Detroit-area nursing homes could soon see workers go on strike.

California continues to be a battlefield for minimum wage. Not only are fast-food workers in the state gazing toward a $22 per hour wage, but Gov. Gav Newsom supports Democratic legislation to push all medical workers to $25 per hour and above.

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