Resident Physicians and Fellows, Who Unionized With CIR/SEIU in 2021, Ratified Their Historic First Collective Bargaining Agreement With 99% of Voters Voting Yes

Worcester, Mass. – After a lengthy bargaining process that began in October of 2021, resident physicians and fellows with the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR/SEIU) and UMass Chan Medical School leadership announced Monday that the doctors have ratified a strong first union contract that includes 11 percent salary increases over three years. The news comes amid an unprecedented wave of resident physician labor organizing throughout the pandemic, and CIR members and hospital leaders say the agreement will help ensure these frontline healthcare workers can continue offering exceptional patient care for years to come.

“Our new contract will make a huge difference in our lives and honor our work caring for patients, the people in central Mass who need health care the most,” said Dr. Alexander Lichtenberg, a fourth-year resident in neuro-psychiatry. “Ratification feels like such a tremendous victory considering that we started organizing for a union even before COVID struck–this is really the culmination of so much work from many different residents and fellows.”

In addition to the significant salary increases, the new contract includes four weeks of paid annual vacation, a minimum $1000 annual education allowance, supplemental major medical insurance, protective equipment guarantees and more. While CIR members note that the bargaining process was trying, they say they’re overjoyed at the outcome, which they attribute to the hard work of their bargaining committee and other dedicated members.

“Our more than 600 residents and fellows are an integral part of our academic health sciences center who, every day, play an important role in the care of patients and in educating medical students while developing expertise in their chosen specialty,” said Deborah DeMarco, MD, associate dean for Graduate Medical Education at UMass Chan. “We are pleased to have reached this agreement.”

The Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR) is the largest house staff union in the United States and a local of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), representing over 22,000 resident physicians and fellows. Our members are dedicated to improving residency training and education, advancing patient care, and expanding healthcare access for our communities.

The UMass Chan Medical School, one of five campuses of the University of Massachusetts system, comprises the T.H. Chan School of Medicine, the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing; a thriving research enterprise and an innovative public service initiative, Commonwealth Medicine. UMass Chan’s mission is to advance the health and wellness of our diverse communities throughout Massachusetts and across the world by leading and innovating in education, research, health care delivery and public service. In doing so, it has built a reputation as a world-class research institution and as a leader in primary care education, perennially ranked in the top 10 percent of medical schools for primary care by U.S. News and World Report. UMass Chan attracts more than $400 million annually in research funding, placing it among the top 50 medical schools in the nation. In 2021, the Medical School received a $175 million donation from The Morningside Foundation and was renamed the UMass Chan Medical School.

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