FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2022
Press Contact: Dara Streit
P: (415) 914-5616
350 UVMMC Resident Physicians and Fellows Win Union Vote
UVM housestaff vote for union representation to address record-high patient volume and physician well-being
Burlington, VT – The resident and fellow physicians employed by the University of Vermont Medical Center overwhelmingly voted in favor of unionizing tonight, with 209 voting in favor and only 59 voting against. The election victory, which designated the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR/SEIU) as the physicians’ collective bargaining representative, was the culmination of a seven-month campaign for recognition. The election results still must be certified by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) before becoming final. The NLRB is an independent federal agency that oversees union elections in the private sector.
After working for over two years on the frontlines of the pandemic, the resident and fellow physicians are hopeful that union representation will allow them to better advocate for improved physician working conditions and quality patient care. “As residents, we are the primary care physicians for much of the Burlington community,” said Dr. Ryan Thomas, a third-year internal medicine resident. “We are deeply committed to providing our patients with the best treatment possible – and with union support, we will be better equipped to advocate for improved patient and physician well-being.”
With a seat at the bargaining table, doctors at UVMMC want to address a number of ongoing issues, including the area’s high cost of living, a lack of adequate workspaces, and a mass exodus of hospital support staff. As the ongoing physician and nursing shortage continues to impact hospitals nationwide, housestaff have been forced to fill in gaps in patient care.
Despite regularly working over 80 hours a week at Vermont’s largest hospital, resident physicians at UVMMC are among the lowest paid in the region. “Our doctors should not have to struggle to make ends meet. We take pride in serving our community, and our patients deserve doctors who are well-rested and adequately compensated,” said Dr. Shreya Amin, a fifth-year endocrinology fellow. “There is no alternative to quality care, and that means taking care of frontline healthcare workers.”
The resident physicians are looking forward to joining the well-established union presence in Burlington, including over 2,400 nurses and technicians at UVMMC.
CIR/SEIU is the largest housestaff union in the United States and is a local of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), representing over 20,000 resident physicians and fellows. CIR is dedicated to improving residency training and education, advancing patient care and expanding healthcare access for the communities their hospitals serve.