Kristen Paula Janson
A New Day for Highland’s Patients
After a contentious bargaining process, Highland Interns and Residents Vote for a New Contract
Oakland, CA— On September 18th, after a 10-month, hard-fought bargaining process, 90 Highland Interns and Residents turned out to vote on a labor contract through 2022. Out of the 90, 83 Interns and Residents voted in favor of the contract negotiated earlier this month, which required a 50%+1 vote to meet the threshold of approval.
After this successful vote, Oakland patients at Highland Hospital will continue to benefit from the Patient Care Fund- a $70,000 reserve earmarked for resident-driven projects. Additionally, Residents will continue to receive reimbursements for DEA licenses allowing them to prescribe critical medications, particularly those used to treat severe pain, cancer and opioid use disorders. Highland Interns and Residents procured 7-months maternity benefits (through disability programs), wage increases retroactive to December 1, 2018, and continued access to free resident healthcare with paid premiums for dependent care beginning in 2021.
Dr. Amelia Breyre, 4th-year Emergency Resident at Highland asserted, “We settled our contract knowing that Alameda Health System faces a financial crisis. We have made tremendous concessions, and prioritized patient safety. We changed our maternity leave, reduced the amount of time for professional conferences and increased the amount we pay for health insurance. However, we’ve maintained the Patient Care Fund, a fund dedicated to purchase important equipment, and medications for patients.”
This new contract captures the housestaff’s principal focus on patient care as well as the value that Interns and Residents contribute to Highland Hospital and the Oakland community. This is a victory for not only Highland Hospital’s Interns and Residents, but also all the patients they care for.
The Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR)is the largest housestaff union in the United States. A local of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), representing over 16,000 resident physicians and fellows. Our members are dedicated to improving residency training and education, advancing patient care, and expanding healthcare access for our communities.