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When we come together as housestaff, we have a unified voice for safe working conditions and better patient outcomes. This pandemic has demonstrated that having workplace representation is urgent and necessary. Thousands of residents across the country have organized union chapters and have won historic improvements for housestaff and patients through collective bargaining agreements.
The laws vary from state to state as well as the type of employer you are paid by – private or public.Generally, however, most laws give employees the right to act together to try and improve their working conditions, with or without a union.It is illegal for employees to be fired, suspended, or otherwise penalized for taking part in protected group activity.
(Document any activity that may look like this)
Administration and department leadership may not conduct unlawful surveillance of employees’ union activity. Identifying, tracking and surveillance of employee discussions about the union or union meetings is illegal.
Supervisors cannot inquire about what goes on at union meetings, ask which employees attend the meeting, or even give the impression of such surveillance.
Administration and department leadership must not directly or indirectly promise any benefits or reward employees for refusing to sign a union card, or for voting against your union. They may not promise a wage increase or give preferential treatment in exchange for refraining from union activity. Encouraging employees to withdraw or repudiate union authorization cards is also unlawful. They may not solicit grievances about working conditions while expressly or impliedly promising corrections if residents do not form a union.
“I can get you a job here or give you a good recommendation letter if you don’t get involved.”
Reminder: There is nothing holding management accountable to any promises they make and they do not have to follow through.
Administration and department leadership should not interrogate, or ask, any employee whether or not he or she favors the union, has signed a union card, or has gone to a union meeting.
You can always say you’re not comfortable answering their questions. Remember to ask whether they’ve talked to others, whether they know if they’re allowed to ask, and if they have concerns about residents forming a union and what they are.
Have you heard of a union being formed? Are you involved? Have you been asked to sign a card? Do any of your colleagues have interest in forming a union? Who have you heard union talk from? Do you think you’ll join?
Administration and program leadership must not threaten employees with harm or reprisals (economic or otherwise) if they decide to get involved with the union or sign a union card.
Administration may not threaten to take away residency spots or current department benefits if the residents decide to form or join a union.
Despite being generally protected, it is always a good idea to be extra careful:
Reminder: Forming a union is 100% our legal right and our vote is anonymous.
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