Mass General Brigham physician trainees vote to unionize

Medical residents and fellows at Somerville, Mass.-based Mass General Brigham have voted to join the Committee of Interns and Residents, a local of the Service Employees International Union.

Seventy-five percent of voting physicians voted in favor of representation, according to a June 8 union news release. 

The election results must still be certified by the National Labor Relations Board. If the results become final, the union would bargain with management on behalf of more than 2,500 residents and fellows at Mass General Brigham hospitals, according to The Boston Globe. This includes trainees at Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Mass Eye and Ear, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Salem Hospital, and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Boston.

A website related to the union drive states that the effort is focused on "working to build collective power to advocate for a just, safe and equitable MGB for all housestaff, workers and patients." Among concerns cited by medical residents and fellows are a need for a living wage, adequate benefits and compensation commensurate with the cost of living in Boston, and financial support or subsidized child care for housestaff with children.

"We're all proud to be housestaff at MGB. There's no denying that matching here comes with a certain amount of prestige. But we can't pay our rent or match the increased cost of living with prestige, and we certainly can't advocate for ourselves and our patients with it either," Pietro Miozzo, MD, a third-year resident physician in pediatrics, said in the union release.

Paul Anderson, MD, PhD, interim chief academic officer at Mass General Brigham, said in a statement shared with Becker's, "As an organization dedicated to training the next great generation of caregivers, we are proud of the education that we provide to our residents and fellows, and we recognize the vital importance of the unique partnership between faculty and trainees in our institutions. While we are disappointed with the outcome, this election is part of a continuing national trend among medical trainees seeking collective bargaining through union representation.  

"Moving forward, our mission remains unchanged. We will continue to deliver on our promise of providing a world-class medical education experience, working within the parameters that will be established by the collective bargaining process."

Mass General Brigham has also created a website related to the unionization effort.  

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