First Striking Physicians in More Than 30 Years Call Out Mount Sinai From Picket Line, as Second Group Announces Strike Vote
Queens, NY–As about 160 resident physicians employed by Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (“Mount Sinai”) began their historic five-day ULP strike at Elmhurst Hospital Monday morning, about 500 of their counterparts at Mount Sinai Morningside/West announced they authorized a strike, with 99 percentage of voting members voting yes. At the press conference, physicians from both residency programs, unionized with the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIRSEIU), called out Mount Sinai’s bad faith bargaining tactics and two-tiered treatment of union physicians at safety net hospitals in Elmhurst and Morningside.
“[Mount Sinai] refuses to pay us the same as our coworkers doing the exact same job at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan,” said Dr. Joya Dupre, Internal Medicine. “It feels, fundamentally, like Mount Sinai is saying that this community does not matter. Like we as Elmhurst residents do not matter, as largely immigrant, union doctors.”
Their counterparts at Morningside/ West have similarly been in negotiations with Sinai since January, and say they are struggling to make ends meet while working often 80 hours a week and with the system still refusing them parity with Mount Sinai Hospital doctors.
“Sinai has maintained a two tiered system of residency for far too long,” said Morningside/ West Resident Dr. Brian Brown. “How could we feel like this is anything but union busting? How could this be anything but Sinai discouraging their non-unionized residents from unionizing, and discouraging union residents from exercising our power to bargain for a fair contract?”
“It’s not enough to bang pots and pans as a way to thank our healthcare heroes. The best way to celebrate them is to treat them with dignity and respect by finally paying them the fair wage they deserve — not a penny less,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “And until that happens, I will proudly stand with our CIR-SEIU members and Elmhurst Hospital physicians as they fight for what they have more than earned.”
“Supporting our frontline healthcare workers goes beyond simply calling them heroes,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “Resident physicians deserve fair pay that reflects the excellent care they provide to patients at Elmhurst Hospital. Their salaries should be brought to parity with their counterparts at other Mount Sinai hospitals because equal work deserves equal pay. I join our partners at CIR-SEIU to call on Mount Sinai to reach a fair and equitable agreement that will benefit residents physicians, patients, and all New Yorkers.”
Today I went out to Queens to stand in solidarity with CIR SEIU workers at Elmhurst hospital who have been bargaining for pay parity and other important benefits.
This is really basic–Mount Sinai is paying union doctors working in some of the poorest communities that were hardest hit by the pandemic less than non-union doctors, which to me looks an awful lot like union busting. As Chair of the Labor committee, I stand completely behind these physicians who are fighting for what they need for themselves and their neighbors,” Councilmember Carmen De La Rosa.
The Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR) is the largest house staff union in the United States. A local of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), representing over 27,000 resident physicians and fellows. Our members are dedicated to improving residency training and education, advancing patient care, and expanding healthcare access for our communities.