Press Contact: Dara Streit
Hundreds of NYC Physicians Could Strike for First Time Since 1990 Over Unfair Labor Practices, Fair Pay and Patient Care Demands
93% of Voting Resident Physicians at Jamaica and Flushing Hospital Voted Yes to Authorize a Strike, Calling Out “Two-Tiered” Treatment of New York City Healthcare Workers
Queens–Represented by the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR), almost 300 physicians employed by the MediSys Health Network (“Medisys”) at Jamaica and Flushing Hospitals could go on strike if MediSys refuses to agree to their urgent demands around a living wage, adequate benefits, and patient care. In the wake of years of systemic failures to invest in hospital care in Queens, the physicians say they are at a breaking point in their ability to provide the care that their communities deserve.
After months of bargaining with little progress, and with MediSys consistently engaging in bad faith negotiating tactics like insisting on resolving all non-economic issues before negotiating economic subjects and refusing to furnish relevant bargaining information sought by CIR, the physicians feel they have no choice but to authorize a strike. They would do so only if MediSys continues to bargain in bad faith and ignore the issues they’ve raised at the bargaining table.
“We do not want to strike, but we will be forced to take that step if MediSys refuses to do the right thing and bargain in good faith, because the only thing more urgent than our economic needs are our demands around patient care,” said Dr. Neha Ravi. “Resident physicians desperately need more time with our patients–that’s why it’s so important that MediSys seriously bargain with the union on proposals that would limit patient loads and help ensure that we spend less time on tasks that take us away from our core work, caring for patients.”
Regularly working 80-hour weeks and scrambling to fill in gaps in staffing–all while making about minimum wage per hour–the doctors, many of whom are immigrants, say they are struggling to stay afloat amid skyrocketing living costs in New York.
“Decades of hospital closures has left Queens with the worst hospital capacity in the city and now CIR doctors are facing heavy patient loads and are sacrificing their education and well-being to care for our communities,” said Council Member Lynn Schulman, Chair of the Health Committee. “I am proud to stand with the dedicated doctors of CIR as they call on MediSys to bargain in good faith and agree to a fair contract that includes a living wage and limits to their heavy work loads and time spent away from patient care. This inequity in the treatment of CIR doctors is detrimental to the lives of our Borough’s patients.”
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 25,000 resident physicians and fellows. Our members are dedicated to improving residency training and education, advancing patient care, and expanding healthcare access for our communities.