Northwestern U physicians begin unionization vote

Resident physicians and fellows at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University, which is on the university's Chicago campus, have begun voting on whether to join the Committee of Interns and Residents, a local of the Service Employees International Union.

The first day of their National Labor Relations Board election was Jan. 24, a union spokesperson told Becker's.

The Committee of Interns and Residents, a local chapter of the Service Employees International Union, is the nation's largest housestaff union. If the vote is successful, the Committee of Interns and Residents would become the bargaining representative for nearly 1,300 interns, residents, chief residents and fellows, the largest group of unionized resident and fellow physicians in the Midwest, according to the union.

The union says the physicians work more than 80 hours a week and seek improved working conditions.

"Amidst a national physician burnout crisis, Northwestern residents see unionizing as a crucial step in ensuring both the sustainability of their profession and care for Chicagoans, and they hope to secure the support and resources they need to continue providing quality care without burning out or facing financial hardship," Annie Della Fera, lead communications coordinator with the Committee of Interns and Residents, told Becker's.

McGaw, an association of affiliated urban, suburban, specialized and general hospitals and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, shared the following statement with Becker's: "McGaw deeply values our interns, residents and fellows, and we are proud to provide firsthand experiences that serve as excellent preparation for a range of career outcomes. McGaw remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting, mentoring and preparing all residents and fellows for future success, regardless of the election outcome."

The election will run until Jan. 26, with the official vote count Jan. 29.


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