- Over 1,200 resident physicians at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York, will now have union representation following a successful election through the National Labor Relations Board, according to a release from the union.
- Some 82% voted in favor of joining the Committee of Interns and Residents, a part of Service Employees International Union, and a fast-growing labor union that represents doctors-in-training.
- Residents at Montefiore were some of the first in the nation to gain representation with CIR-SEIU nearly four decades ago, before the union was removed, according to the release.
Residents at Montefiore are the latest to join CIR-SEIU, a labor union gaining more members as healthcare workers across all roles mobilize in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
CIR-SEIU had five election wins in 2022, four in 2021, one in 2020 and two in 2019, according to the union. It currently represents about 25,000 members.
Organizing is expected to continue, and currently over 100 residents at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center — which includes four facilities in San Francisco — have an in-person election with the NLRB set for March 6, according to the union.
Like other healthcare workers, residents are looking to gain a greater say in their working conditions through unionization, along with a chance to advocate for better patient care, according to the union.
The movement to organize residents at Montefiore began early in the pandemic when clinicians had to fill in gaps without additional support, according to the release.
Other factors like “witnessing the way that healthcare works in the Bronx,” also drove residents to organize, Libby Wetterer, a third-year family medicine resident at the hospital said.
The pandemic, which disproportionately claimed the lives of non-White patients, highlighted issues like medical racism and disparate patient outcomes that residents also want to address through their new collective bargaining power, she said.
“It just feels like a really powerful time for labor in healthcare,” she said.
The newly-formed union is now in the process of creating its bargaining committee.
“As the ongoing physician and nursing shortage continues to impact hospitals nationwide, residents and fellows at the hospital hope to address these critical issues by working with hospital management at the bargaining table,” the union said in the release.
Montefiore Medical Center has seen other recent labor actions, including a strike among thousands of nurses at the hospital in January. Those nurses, along with thousands of others at another hospital — Mount Sinai — walked off the job for three days amid contentious negotiations for new contracts.
Agreements over staffing levels were key to making deals and ending the strike, according to the union.