UMass physicians OK 1st contract

Resident physicians and fellows with the Committee of Interns and Residents have approved their first contract with the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School in Worcester, according to a July 20 news release.

The union, a local of the Service Employees International Union, represents more than 600 residents and fellows. Members initially voted to unionize March 2, 2021, and the Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations subsequently certified the Committee of Interns and Residents as their collective bargaining representative. Before the recent contract approval, negotiations had been ongoing since October. 

"Our new contract will make a huge difference in our lives and honor our work caring for patients, the people in central Mass who need healthcare the most," Alexander Lichtenberg, MD, a fourth-year resident in neuropsychiatry, said in the release. "Ratification feels like such a tremendous victory considering that we started organizing for a union even before COVID struck — this is really the culmination of so much work from many different residents and fellows." 

Under the deal, union members will receive 11 percent salary increases over three years, according to both parties. The contract also includes:

  • Four weeks of paid annual vacation
  • A minimum $1000 annual education allowance
  • Supplemental major medical insurance
  • Guarantees regarding personal protective equipment 

"Our more than 600 residents and fellows are an integral part of our academic health sciences center who, every day, play an important role in the care of patients and in educating medical students while developing expertise in their chosen specialty," Deborah DeMarco, MD, associate dean for Graduate Medical Education at UMass Chan, said in the release. "We are pleased to have reached this agreement."

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