The 1,450 residents at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) have completed a months-long organizing campaign to win their union and join 15,000 fellow members of The Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU (CIR/SEIU). UCSF is the largest chapter of residents to organize in over 60 years of CIR’s existence.
“Having a union at UCSF will make a huge difference in our day-to-day lives as residents. We are frontline providers working to improve the lives of patients every day. Now UCSF is recognizing the need to improve residents’ lives. Healthy and respected residents mean healthier and happier patients. Our vision is to enhance patient care, strengthen the hospital, and improve residency education, and we look forward to building a positive partnership with management in the process,” said Michael Losak, Emergency Medicine, PGY 3.
By joining CIR, UCSF residents will be able to negotiate their contracts for the first time, including bargaining for better salaries, benefits, time off, and other provisions that will improve resident life and well-being. UCSF residents are joining the ranks of a growing number of physicians across the country who feel that unionizing is essential to making improvements to residency programs and to resident lives.
Residents have been working to form their union since 2016. This has been an enormous grassroots organizing effort that started with a handful of residents questioning why Zuckerberg San Francisco General (formerly SFGH) had a union and UCSF did not. Residents often rotate between the two hospitals, and the difference between having the union (SFGH) and not having one, (UCSF) was evident in terms resident working conditions, salaries, benefits, and patient care oversight.
“Knowing I’m one of the thousands of CIR residents dedicated to improving the lives of their patients and their working conditions gives me hope that I, along with my fellow residents, can make a difference in the American healthcare system and in my patients’ lives,” said Dr. Latoya Frolov, a Psychiatry resident at UCSF and one of the leaders on the CIR Organizing Committee.
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About the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR/SEIU Healthcare)
Founded in 1957, the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR/SEIU Healthcare) is the oldest and largest housestaff union in the U.S., representing more than 15,000 physicians in public and private teaching hospitals across the country. CIR empowers resident physicians to have a voice in their employment and training and to be advocates for their patients.