New CIR Chapter FAQ


We want to make changes at our hospital and are considering becoming unionized. Where do we start?

You’ve come to the right place! There are many ways to build power at your hospital and we look forward to learning about your unique goals and challenges and creating a plan together. Schedule a call with us [intake form link] to get all your individual questions answered and refer to the information below in the meantime. You can also get some inspiration from our Resident Bill of Rights campaign at

What are the benefits of forming a union?

When we come together as housestaff, we have a unified voice for safe working conditions and better patient outcomes. This pandemic has demonstrated that having workplace representation is urgent and necessary. Thousands of residents across the country have organized union chapters and have won historic improvements for housestaff and patients through collective bargaining agreements.

Can I join CIR as an individual?

CIR membership applies to whole residency programs. If you are already at a CIR-affiliated program, click here.

What’s legal? What’s not?

The laws vary from state to state as well as the type of employer you are paid by – private or public. Generally, however, most laws give employees the right to act together to try and improve their working conditions, with or without a union. It is illegal for employees to be fired, suspended, or otherwise penalized for taking part in protected group activity. You can schedule a time to talk with us about your specific hospital here.

What can we do to protect ourselves?

Despite being generally protected, it is always a good idea to be extra careful:

  • Remember to be discrete and never seek advice or reveal to management/administration that you are considering unionizing
  • Refrain from using hospital property – both physical (printers, computers, phones) – and intellectual (email, paging/messaging systems) – in communicating regarding union matters
  • Be mindful of where and when you discuss unionization with your colleagues – being overheard talking about unions in the hospital “on company time” can be considered “solicitation,” so exercise caution and discretion
  • As long as you are using personal means of communication such as personal phones, emails, and only talking to other interns, residents, or fellows, the hospital cannot discipline you