One Medical workers seek unionization

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Employees at San Francisco-based One Medical plan to join Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, according to Forbes.

One Medical is a membership-based, technology-enabled primary care practice with more than 2,000 employees. 

The union estimates more than 500 One Medical staff members would make up the scope of an appropriate bargaining unit.

Unionized workers would include administrative staff and phlebotomists, but physicians and other clinicians would not be included, according to Forbes.

In a statement shared with Becker's, Workers United said issues within One Medical prompting the unionization effort "are vast and widely felt." 

Allegations cited by the union include misleading staff during the hiring process, as well as often giving One Medical staff workflows and procedures designed by people who are not significantly familiar with the day-to-day reality of the job.

Workers United said One Medical staff members are often pressured and intimidated into overworking, report being underpaid, were repeatedly denied hazard pay during the COVID-19 pandemic and saw mismanagement of One Medical's COVID-19 vaccine rollout. In March, Congress launched an investigation into One Medical's vaccination process after allegations that the company administered vaccinations to ineligible patients and people who have ties to the company.

More recently, the union said there are issues with transparency.

"The straw which broke it all loose — One Medical has signaled with a long series of veiled discussions, that a large group of its staff, the Virtual Team, will be dismantled, and choices for retention are: move to Arizona, take a front desk position within the local market, find employment elsewhere," the union said. "Leadership seems to intentionally make the details vague so that no timeline exists, just the threat that at any time choices will have to be made."

The unionization effort comes more than a year after One Medical went public in a $245 million initial public offering, according to Forbes. It also comes after One Medical said June 7 it will acquire digital primary care provider Iora Health for $2.1 billion. 

In a statement shared with Becker's, One Medical said, "We take tremendous pride in delivering exceptional healthcare. We know that our team is the core of all we do — caring for hundreds of thousands of patients across the country each year. We are proud of the work we do and the people we employ. We aim to support all One Medical employees by creating a safe, inclusive and fulfilling work environment so that every employee can perform to the best of their abilities. One Medical leadership remains dedicated to improving by listening and learning from our team members." 

The union said it is demanding that One Medical CEO Amir Dan Rubin agree to necessary terms for union recognition and awaits a response.

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