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Stanford resident physicians vote to join union

House staff doctors pushed to organize after being slighted in hospital's initial COVID-19 vaccinations

One of four airborne infection treatment rooms at Stanford Hospital, which is used to treat patients with infectious diseases. Embarcadero Media file photo by Veronica Weber.

Doctors who are resident and fellow physicians at Stanford Health Care have voted to join a union by a wide margin, the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR-SEIU) said in a press statement on Tuesday.

More than 81% of the resident doctors who voted on Monday evening approved joining the union, CIR-SEIU.

Stanford has 1,478 residents and fellows, according to the hospital. The resident physicians began organizing in December 2020 after protesting the hospital's COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, which excluded a majority of resident physicians who serve as Stanford's frontline care, from the first round of inoculations. Stanford said at the time that the residents and fellows were excluded due to a computer algorithm glitch. The CIR-SEIU would help the residents negotiate better working conditions and better patient-care standards, the union said.

The vote comes a day after nurses from Stanford and Lucile Packard Children's hospitals ratified a new contract through their union, the Committee for Recognition of Nursing Achievement (CRONA), following a weeklong strike for better working conditions and higher pay.

"Our doctors are united by our desire to provide the best possible patient care and strong worker protections. One thing the pandemic has made abundantly clear, in addition to the widespread equity issues in our healthcare system, is that our needs as physicians cannot be separated from those of our patients," Dr. Ben Solomon, a postgraduate, three-year resident of pediatrics said in the union statement.

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In late February, Stanford Health Care refused to voluntarily recognize the house staff union, the union said.

"This was emblematic of hospital management's ongoing refusal to address resident concerns, leading residents to organize the union election through the National Labor Relations Board," the union said.

Amid widespread physician burnout, residents were frustrated that Stanford Health Care stalled instead of taking action to adequately support its resident physicians, the union said. The ongoing physician and nursing shortage has affected hospitals nationwide with resident and fellow physicians filling in gaps in patient care.

The union said these physicians "had no additional support despite working for a hospital whose profits continue to soar, only exacerbating burnout related to 80-hour workweeks and salaries incommensurate with cost of living."

Dr. Meaghan Roy-O'Reilly, a postgraduate, two-year resident of neurology, said the hospital administration has let the so-called house staff down "time and time again."

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"With a seat at the table, we are equipped to take the advocacy for ourselves and our patients into our own hands. We understand the power of collective organizing, and we are excited to directly address these issues," she said.

According to the official vote tally, the resident doctors approved joining the union with 835 yes votes to 214 no votes. They have up to a week to win official certification. The election results must be certified by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) before becoming final. The labor relations board is an independent federal agency that oversees union elections in the private sector.

CIR-SEIU is the largest house staff union in the United States and is a local of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). It represents more than 20,000 resident physicians and fellows.

In a statement, Stanford Health Care said it doesn't plan to contest the election results.

"As we begin the collective bargaining process, our goal remains unchanged: providing our residents and fellows with a world-class training experience. We will bring this same focus to negotiations as we strive to support their development as physician leaders," the hospital said.

Sue Dremann
 
Sue Dremann is a veteran journalist who joined the Palo Alto Weekly in 2001. She is a breaking news and general assignment reporter who also covers the regional environmental, health and crime beats. Read more >>

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Stanford resident physicians vote to join union

House staff doctors pushed to organize after being slighted in hospital's initial COVID-19 vaccinations

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, May 3, 2022, 5:09 pm

Doctors who are resident and fellow physicians at Stanford Health Care have voted to join a union by a wide margin, the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR-SEIU) said in a press statement on Tuesday.

More than 81% of the resident doctors who voted on Monday evening approved joining the union, CIR-SEIU.

Stanford has 1,478 residents and fellows, according to the hospital. The resident physicians began organizing in December 2020 after protesting the hospital's COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, which excluded a majority of resident physicians who serve as Stanford's frontline care, from the first round of inoculations. Stanford said at the time that the residents and fellows were excluded due to a computer algorithm glitch. The CIR-SEIU would help the residents negotiate better working conditions and better patient-care standards, the union said.

The vote comes a day after nurses from Stanford and Lucile Packard Children's hospitals ratified a new contract through their union, the Committee for Recognition of Nursing Achievement (CRONA), following a weeklong strike for better working conditions and higher pay.

"Our doctors are united by our desire to provide the best possible patient care and strong worker protections. One thing the pandemic has made abundantly clear, in addition to the widespread equity issues in our healthcare system, is that our needs as physicians cannot be separated from those of our patients," Dr. Ben Solomon, a postgraduate, three-year resident of pediatrics said in the union statement.

In late February, Stanford Health Care refused to voluntarily recognize the house staff union, the union said.

"This was emblematic of hospital management's ongoing refusal to address resident concerns, leading residents to organize the union election through the National Labor Relations Board," the union said.

Amid widespread physician burnout, residents were frustrated that Stanford Health Care stalled instead of taking action to adequately support its resident physicians, the union said. The ongoing physician and nursing shortage has affected hospitals nationwide with resident and fellow physicians filling in gaps in patient care.

The union said these physicians "had no additional support despite working for a hospital whose profits continue to soar, only exacerbating burnout related to 80-hour workweeks and salaries incommensurate with cost of living."

Dr. Meaghan Roy-O'Reilly, a postgraduate, two-year resident of neurology, said the hospital administration has let the so-called house staff down "time and time again."

"With a seat at the table, we are equipped to take the advocacy for ourselves and our patients into our own hands. We understand the power of collective organizing, and we are excited to directly address these issues," she said.

According to the official vote tally, the resident doctors approved joining the union with 835 yes votes to 214 no votes. They have up to a week to win official certification. The election results must be certified by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) before becoming final. The labor relations board is an independent federal agency that oversees union elections in the private sector.

CIR-SEIU is the largest house staff union in the United States and is a local of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). It represents more than 20,000 resident physicians and fellows.

In a statement, Stanford Health Care said it doesn't plan to contest the election results.

"As we begin the collective bargaining process, our goal remains unchanged: providing our residents and fellows with a world-class training experience. We will bring this same focus to negotiations as we strive to support their development as physician leaders," the hospital said.

Comments

felix
Registered user
Barron Park
on May 4, 2022 at 6:26 am
felix, Barron Park
Registered user
on May 4, 2022 at 6:26 am

Stanford Med Center must be ground zero in the U.S. this week for union action, organizing and victories. Pretty exciting.

My two next door neighbors are a Stanford Resident and a Doctor at Stanford. This is great news for them and all who go to Stanford for healthcare.

The Covid vax priority screw-up is vivid in my memory. No surprise it was a catalyst for Resident unionizing.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 4, 2022 at 10:11 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on May 4, 2022 at 10:11 am

The Covid vax screw-up is vivid because it shows how little thought has been given to staff safety and hence the safety and protection of staff AND patients.

It's horrifying to see places like Stanford and PAMF take these protections so lightly and how long they waited.


Knows Stanford Labor
Registered user
Community Center
on May 4, 2022 at 11:52 am
Knows Stanford Labor, Community Center
Registered user
on May 4, 2022 at 11:52 am

W.B.Yeats: “Labour is blossoming or dancing where
The body is not bruised to pleasure soul”
Protect and pay the people who save us.


Anonymous
Registered user
Fairmeadow
on May 4, 2022 at 1:23 pm
Anonymous, Fairmeadow
Registered user
on May 4, 2022 at 1:23 pm

Stanford Business School should use Stanford Health Care as a case study of how NOT to a business. The latter's management is clearly incompetent.


Milton
Registered user
Fairmeadow
on May 5, 2022 at 9:24 am
Milton, Fairmeadow
Registered user
on May 5, 2022 at 9:24 am

How many of you chuckled when you read above that the residents were excluded from the covid 19 vaccination due to a "computer algorithm glitch." Shameful.


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