Frontline Chicago Doctors Win First-Ever Union Contract


UIC Resident Physicians Secure Equitable Contract for Improved Patient Care, Working Conditions

Chicago, IL — Last week marked a momentous victory for the nearly 800 resident physicians and fellows at the University of Illinois, Chicago, who won their first-ever contract when they reached a tentative agreement with hospital administrators. The agreement was reached after the UIC doctors held a widely attended unity break action on January 26th, where both Commissioner Brandon Johnson and State Representative Lakesia Collins spoke in support of these frontline healthcare workers.

As their patient population continues to grow, UIC’s frontline doctors fought for a contract that would ensure that quality patient care remains accessible to all, especially Chicago’s most vulnerable. “Our community deserves physicians who have what they need to deliver the best care possible,” said Dr. Nikki Alberti, a second-year Emergency Medicine resident physician at UIC. “The neighborhoods we serve have seen vital safety net hospitals close within a healthcare system that puts profits above patient well-being, which makes it that much more crucial that this residency program is properly supported. This contract is a win for us and a step towards addressing the persistent healthcare inequities in our city.”

After months of organizing, residents at UIC have secured a contract that fulfilled these basic needs. Contract highlights include significant salary increases for each year of the four-year contract, a discretionary educational fund allowance and a licensure reimbursement program.

“My colleagues and I came together to improve our working conditions for ourselves, and our patients,” said Dr. Anita Shanker, a third-year Internal Medicine-Pediatric resident at UIC. “When we have the support and resources to focus on training to be the best physicians we can, everyone wins. Having a contract that provides for our basic needs means our attention is on what matters: caring for our neighbors.”

A fair contract is essential to ensure the residents and fellows of UIC can provide top quality care. With residents often saddled with $250,000 in average student loan debt and regularly working over 80 hours a week, and cost of living rapidly rising in Chicago, this contract is vital to prevent the city’s frontline doctors from living paycheck to paycheck. 

UIC residents and fellows first joined CIR/SEIU in September 2021 and are the union’s first chapter in the midwest.

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 24,000 resident physicians and fellows. Our members are dedicated to improving residency training and education, advancing patient care, and expanding healthcare access for our communities.