400+ Kaiser physicians move toward unionization

More than 400 resident and fellow physicians employed by Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Northern California have launched a campaign to unionize.

On April 2, the physicians filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board for an election to vote on whether to join the Committee of Interns and Residents, a local chapter of the Service Employees International Union, according to a union news release. The filing comes one day after resident physicians and fellows at University of Chicago Medical Center announced efforts to unionize.

The physicians at Kaiser work across campuses in San Francisco, Santa Clara and other Northern California locations. Their unionization would result in a fully unionized workforce across Kaiser Northern California, according to CIR/SEIU. Unions currently represent more than 85,000 healthcare workers at Kaiser facilities in California, Colorado, Oregon, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia and Washington.

CIR/SEIU said the Kaiser physicians in Northern California seek to advocate to improve their working conditions and patient care in their region.

"My colleagues and I chose Kaiser to provide innovative, quality care to our communities here in the Bay Area and beyond — but we need adequate support to provide that top quality care without jeopardizing our own well-being," Brandon Anderson, MD, a second-year internal medicine resident on the San Francisco campus, said in the release. "We have seen the success our unionized colleagues have had, and we are ready for our own turn at the bargaining table."

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente shared the following statement with Becker's: "We greatly value our medical residents and fellows and are committed to continuing to make Kaiser Permanente the best place to learn, work and provide care. We respect our longstanding relationships with labor unions and the rights of our employees to make decisions about whether they want to be represented by a union. We support our Kaiser Permanente residents and fellows in any decision they make as a group in a representation election to be conducted by the National Labor Relations Board."

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