842 U of Illinois-Chicago physicians unionize

The Committee of Interns and Residents, a local of the Service Employees International Union, has been certified by the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board to represent 842 interns, resident and fellow physicians at the University of Illinois-Chicago, according to a Sept. 1 news release from the union. 

The physicians forming the union began organizing efforts more than a year ago, citing concerns about physician safety, working conditions and patient care.  

"Even pre-pandemic, we were concerned about the lack of resources we were forced to work with. Once COVID hit, all of the issues that we struggled with multiplied exponentially — from not having enough space and support staff to challenges facing our patients because of inadequate social services. It became clear that we needed a voice so that we can meaningfully participate in decisions that affect our training and patient care," Perry Tsai, MD, PhD, a third-year psychiatry resident, said in the news release.

In a statement shared with Becker's, the University of Illinois-Chicago said it is committed to serving Illinois residents via access to quality education, healthcare and jobs.

"UIC has a strong history of demonstrating respect and appreciation for our employees in collective bargaining units through good faith negotiations and fair agreements," the university said. "The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged our entire community and we recognize its specific impact on our healthcare providers and staff — their professionalism, dedication and performance during these challenging times has been steadfast and inspiring. With the Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU now certified by the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, we will begin negotiating in good faith with the union and work together toward a fair contract."

The University of Illinois-Chicago physicians are among the most recent Committee of Interns and Residents members, which also include physicians from the University of California-Fresno and University of California-Riverside

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