Stanford physicians vote to join union


Resident and fellow physicians at Palo Alto, Calif.-based Stanford Health Care have voted in favor of representation by the Committee of Interns and Residents, according to a May 3 news release.

Of the nearly 1,050 ballots counted, 835 were in favor of representation, the National Labor Relations Board website showed. 

The vote comes after resident physicians led a protest in December 2020 against Stanford’s COVID-19 vaccination plan that excluded house staff from the initial round of shots. The health system immediately revised the plan to prioritize resident physicians.

In February, physicians also demanded the health system voluntarily recognize the Committee of Interns and Residents as their exclusive representative for collective bargaining.

Now the union said its members are looking forward to negotiations. 

“Our doctors are united by our desire to provide the best possible patient care and strong worker protections,” said Ben Solomon, MD, a pediatric resident physician, said in the release. “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.”

The National Labor Relations Board must certify the election results before they are final. Stanford does not plan to challenge the results, the health system said in a statement shared with Becker’s on May 3.

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

The Committee of Interns and Residents is a local chapter of the Service Employees International Union. The union represents more than 20,000 resident physicians and fellows, including University of Massachusetts physicians in training, who unionized in March 2021. 

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