After concluding our vote to authorize a strike on Monday, the LA County members of the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR/SEIU) are planning to give our official notice today that we are planning to engage in an unfair labor practice (ULP) strike, that will commence on June 13 and end on June 15. This will be the first time resident physician members of CIR have gone on strike since 1990 in New York City.
Unfortunately, in a six-hour intensive bargaining session with LA County on Wednesday, we were still unable to reach a resolution with County officials, after months of patient negotiating, speaking out and marching on the decision makers in the County Board of Supervisors. During a two-week voting process that concluded Monday and in reaction to the County’s persistent bad faith bargaining and unlawful conduct, CIR members overwhelmingly voted to authorize the bargaining committee to call for a ULP strike, with 99% of voting members voting in favor.
From our first talks with the County almost a year ago, this fight has been about getting what we need to continue caring for our patients at the level they deserve and with our undivided attention, and ensuring that LA County can continue attracting talented and dedicated doctors to serve our communities. We do not take the decision to strike lightly, and we have presented the County with more than sufficient notice of our strike plans in order to help ensure that they have time to safely staff our hospitals in our absence.
While we would much prefer to continue doing these jobs we are passionate about without pause, the County’s conduct has left us with no choice. Furthermore we know it is better in the long run for our hospitals and the communities we serve to ensure that frontline doctors can pay their rent and live in the city they work in. Amid ever-rising cost of living in LA and with some residents barely making minimum wage based on the number of hours they work, LA County must invest in its healthcare workers in order to support the people who need care the most. Already, incoming interns are calling us, panicked about finding an apartment they can afford in LA. They deserve better and the people of LA deserve better.
Through this long bargaining process and the past few weeks of intense preparation for a potential strike, we have been consistently blown away by the volume and depth of support we’ve received from our fellow CIR members, County employees, healthcare workers, community members, elected officials and others, and to all of you we extend our heartfelt gratitude.
We are still hopeful that we can avert a strike, and we urge the County to do the right thing.