University at Buffalo physicians make union push

Resident physicians and fellows at the University at Buffalo, who work at hospitals across Western New York, have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board for a union representation election, The Buffalo News reported Feb. 22. 

About 800 interns, residents and fellows are part of the University at Buffalo Resident Program, according to the petition

The physicians seek to organize with the Union of American Physicians & Dentists. 

Stuart Bussey, MD, president of the union, told The Buffalo News the campaign stems from "too much work, not enough pay, not enough voice."

"We understand medical training is not supposed to be easy and that there is a culture of putting in your dues, but the blatant disparity experienced by UB residents and fellows puts patient care at risk," the university residents, fellows and interns wrote at, a website related to the organizing effort. "This can no longer be tolerated. We need a say in our working conditions and we need to demand a seat at the table so that we can provide a safe working environment for ourselves and for the safety of our patients."

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. 

In a statement shared with The Buffalo News, the UB Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences said it is aware of the union drive. 

"We are highly appreciative of the talents and work of our trainees and have worked diligently with them on recent salary increases, including fiercely advocating for them to receive the state's healthcare worker bonus," the Jacobs School said, according to the newspaper. "We look forward to continuing to work with our trainees to ensure they have a first-class learning environment and are compensated fairly and competitively."

Physicians nationwide have recently been involved in unionization efforts. For example, physicians at Minneapolis-based Allina Health's Mercy Hospital recently filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board for a union representation election. 

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