U of Washington residents stage 'sick-in' to protest pace of contract talks

Medical residents at the University of Washington in Seattle staged a "sick-in" last week to protest the slow pace of contract negotiations with the university, according to MedPage Today.

Negotiations for a new contract for residents between the UW Housestaff Association, which represents the residents, and the administration have stalled, and the 'sick-in' was staged to call "attention to how overworked and burned out so many of us are," Brandon Peplinski, MD, an internal medicine resident and UW Housestaff Association board member told MedPage Today. The previous contract expired June 30, 2019, and negotiations began in July last year. 

University of Washington residents are pushing for a salary of $64,036 for first-year residents and increases of 4 percent a year to keep up with living costs in Seattle. The administration has offered a 1 percent to 2 percent annual pay increase.

Residents also want coverage for childcare increased from two days a year to at least one day a month.

Residents expressed frustration with the administration's slow response to their contract requests. In September 2019, 500 residents staged a 15-minute walkout in protest, and in November, residency program directors signed a letter in support of the residents' demands, saying that a new contract would also help them recruit economically diverse trainees.

On Jan. 10, participating residents signed a UW Housestaff Association pledge and took the "sick-in" day off to visit their own providers. One resident used the day to take her 15-month-old daughter to a physician. The residents had given their program directors six weeks' notice to ensure patient care would not suffer.

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