U of California physicians hold rallies to support bargaining

Resident physicians and fellows, represented by the Committee of Interns and Residents, participated in rallies Nov. 16 at University of California campuses amid contract negotiations.

The rallies, described by organizers as a "unity breaks," are "to bring attention to [physicians'] systemwide fight for fair contracts across all hospitals," according to the union, a local of the Service Employees International Union.

Off-duty physicians at the University of California San Francisco and University of California Los Angeles are among those who participated in the systemwide rallies.

The Committee of Interns and Residents is negotiating contracts on behalf of about 5,000 physicians across the University of California system, including in San Francisco and Los Angeles, the union said in a Nov. 15 news release shared with Becker's. Union members — which have been bargaining with their local campuses since the Spring — said they are seeking fair pay and benefits to improve patient care and physician well-being.

UCSF declined Becker's request for comment.

In a statement shared with Becker's, UCLA Health said it "values the essential contributions of medical residents and fellows in providing world-class patient care, conducting research and serving the community. We are committed to negotiating in good faith with their union representatives on a new contract."

The rallies in California occurred a day after physicians at Washington, D.C.-based Children's National Hospital, represented by the Committee of Interns and Residents, held a rally amid contract negotiations.

While labor actions during the pandemic have more often involved nurses and other healthcare professionals, physicians are increasingly involved in union activities, including votes to unionize and rallies.

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