Mass General Brigham hospital physicians seek unionization

Physicians at Salem (Mass.) Hospital, a Mass General Brigham facility, seek to form a union with Council 93 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Union officials announced the effort in a Jan. 8 news release shared with Becker's, saying more than 66% of the prospective bargaining unit of 145 physicians have signed cards in support of joining AFSCME Council 93. The union, which is based in Boston and affiliated with AFSCME International, represents approximately 45,000 public and private sector workers in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.   

The National Labor Relations Board provides various paths to forming a union. It will conduct an election if at least 30 percent of workers sign cards or a petition indicating their support for unionization, according to its website. Workers would then vote on whether to unionize. Employers may also voluntarily recognize a union based on signed union-authorization cards or other evidence.  The union requested Jan. 8 that Salem Hospital management voluntarily recognize the union to avoid an election process.

"These physicians are committed to working together to ensure that their members have a unified and impactful role in the decisions that affect the safety and quality of care of their patients," the union wrote on its Facebook page Jan. 9. "… They are seeking to collect their voices to reassert their rightful place within the house of medicine, to impact positively their hospital, their patients and, ultimately, our healthcare system."

Patrick Gordan, MD, associate chief medical officer at Salem Hospital, shared the following statement with Becker's: "Highest-quality, safe, comprehensive care for our patients and their families is always our top priority. We strongly believe that we can achieve these results for our patients and staff by working together in direct and respectful partnership to solve the very real issues that are facing physicians and healthcare institutions across the country. We always seek to engage our front-line caregivers in decision-making, and we are committed to continuing to work together."

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