DC resident physicians move to unionize

Resident physicians at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., are moving to unionize, citing pandemic burnout.

Residents employed by George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences seek to join the Committee of Interns and Residents, a local of the Service Employees International Union.

They announced their intention to form a union on March 1.

"We are devoted to our patients and will always go the extra mile to provide the best care. Yet at the same time, we are struggling to care for our everyday needs," Maryssa Miller, MD, a first-year internal medicine resident at George Washington, said in a news release. "We came together so we could have a say in our working conditions and be able to provide the best care possible for our patients without unmanageable added stress and financial burden."

Resident physicians say they are struggling financially due to rising inflation and stagnant pay and hope to address that as well as other issues, such as workloads and burnout.

If unionization occurs, 450 to 500 resident physicians would likely be eligible for collective bargaining, according to The Washington Post.

A university spokeswoman shared a letter with the newspaper that Barbara Bass, MD, dean of the medical school, sent to residents praising their work and thanking them for their "contributions to the health and wellness of the patients you serve."

Dr. Bass said the university would follow Nation Labor Relations Board processes, including a secret ballot election, and said union representation is up to each individual resident, according to the Post.

Separately, nurses at George Washington University have also launched a unionization drive.

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