Physicians at Allina Health hospital seek union representation election

Physicians at Minneapolis-based Allina Health's Mercy Hospital have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board for a union representation election. 

The physicians, who work at Mercy Hospital's Unity and Mercy campuses in Fridley, Minn., and Coon Rapids, Minn., seek to organize with Doctors Council SEIU to boost physician input and promote patient-centered healthcare, according to a Feb. 14 union news release shared with Becker's.

"I want to join the Doctors Council and work with Allina to create policies that promote a culture of well-being for both physicians and patients," Sandy Lee-Baird, MD, said in the union release.

The NLRB provides various paths to forming a union. According to the labor board's website, the board will conduct an election if at least 30 percent of workers sign cards or a petition indicating their support for unionization. Workers would then vote on whether to unionize. Employers may also voluntarily recognize a union based on signed union-authorization cards or other evidence. About 150 physicians at Mercy Hospital would be represented by the union if workers vote to unionize.

Allina Health, in a statement shared with Becker's, said the health system "deeply respect[s] and value[s] our physicians, their contributions to our organization, and the critical services they provide [to] our community. We are aware some physicians at Mercy Hospital are pursuing union membership, and we respect their rights as employees to support or oppose unionization.

"We are committed to maintaining our culture of collaboration and communication. We are concerned that a union environment will create conflict, complication and unnecessary complexity."

Physicians nationwide have recently been involved in unionization efforts. For example, a group of emergency department physicians working at Providence Medford (Ore.) Medical Center also recently filed with the National Labor Relations Board for a union recognition election.


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