For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Dara Streit
Frontline Physicians at LA County Hospitals to Vote on Authorizing a Strike, Citing Unfair Labor Practices
Over 1,300 Resident Physicians and Fellows at LAC+USC Medical Center, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Outpatient Center Could Join More Than 55,000 County Workers in Striking for a Fair Contract
Los Angeles, CA—Frontline CIR/SEIU member-doctors at three of LA’s largest hospitals announced at a press conference Wednesday that they plan to vote to authorize an unfair labor practice strike, joining tens of thousands of other LA County employees who have exhausted their options as the County continues to engage in surface bargaining in the workers’ contract negotiations. If they ultimately go on strike, the physicians would be the first in their union to do so for 32 years, which demonstrates the seriousness of this contract and the workers’ frustration with the County’s bad-faith conduct.
Residents and fellows of the Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU are voting to authorize this historic ULP strike on the grounds that throughout a months-long bargaining process, the County has failed to make movement on key Union proposals affecting the physicians and their families or simply rejected them outright, repeatedly canceled scheduled bargaining sessions, and otherwise engaged in bad faith bargaining conduct. In that time, the union members have held a range of actions, including a historic march on the Board of Supervisors with thousands of other County workers on March 31 and a march out of their hospitals on May 5. “Not only have we continued to give our all every day to ensure our hospitals can run smoothly through this health crisis, but we have marched, we’ve spoken out, we’ve used every tool to settle this contract and get the pay and benefits we need to live, while the County has offered us nothing in response to some of our most urgent proposals,” says Dr. Mahima Iyengar, an internal medicine and pediatrics resident at LAC/USC. “We don’t do so lightly, but the Board of Supervisors is leaving us really with no choice but to take this strike vote, and I’ll be proud to vote yes.”
The frontline doctors have kept LA County’s vital safety-net hospitals running throughout the worst of the pandemic, while campaigning for a contract that will allow them to focus on delivering quality patient care to the communities of color they serve without burning out. At a press conference at LAC+USC Medical Center on May 11, resident physicians shared their accounts of how the County’s refusal to bargain in good faith affects their well-being in a time of steep inflation and amid the ongoing health crisis.
“We need the County to respond to us and bargain fairly, not only so that we can better take care of ourselves and our families, but so that we can continue to recruit and retain the best physicians for LA County hospitals,” says Dr. Felisha Eugenio, a third-year chief resident in family medicine at MLK Outpatient Center and a CIR regional vice president .“The well-being of LA County frontline doctors is the well-being of our patients, just as the work other LA County employees do every day impacts all of us.”
The strike authorization voting will begin on Monday, May 16 and will end on May 31.
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 20,000 resident physicians and fellows. Our members are dedicated to improving residency training and education, advancing patient care, and expanding healthcare access for our communities.