Children’s Hospital Resident Physicians Win Improved Wages and Benefits
Oakland, CA— Today, the resident and fellow physicians of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland announced a resolution with their employer, averting a historic unfair labor practice (ULP) strike. The doctors are represented by the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR SEIU).
After over six months of difficult negotiations, the CHO physicians have reached a resolution with the hospital that the CIR members say will allow them to continue serving Oakland’s youngest patients. “I’m so thrilled that we’ve finally reached a resolution with CHO, without being forced to spend any time away from our patients,” said Dr. Jay Kwon, a second-year pediatrics resident at CHO. “All we want is to keep giving our all to the families we serve without wondering if we’re going to be able to pay our rent or care for our own families, and this contract gets us a lot closer to that being the case.”
Residents often serve as the primary care physicians for East Bay youth at the region’s only pediatric safety net hospital, and regularly work well over 70 hours a week. They voted from September 13 to September 15, with 97.8% turnout unanimously in favor of providing their bargaining committee with the authority to call a strike. They were supported at their strike authorization voting by Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan, Councilmember Dan Kalb, Assembly Candidate Liz Ortega-Toro, and Oakland City-Council Candidate Kevin Jenkins.
The resident and intern physicians are deeply passionate about serving all of Oakland’s children and families, and organized to ensure they could continue serving their patients without struggling to make ends meet. “We’re all proud of what we accomplished with this campaign over all these months,” says Dr. Billy Gravley, also a second-year pediatrics resident. “If we weren’t so united as CIR members, we never could have won this contract that will make our jobs more sustainable in the long run and that will allow CHO to attract physicians from all backgrounds to do their residency here.”
The proposed contract tentatively includes a wage increase of 6% in the first year, followed by 4% in both the second and third years, a $500 retention bonus, a housing stipend increase starting with $11,000 in the first year, then increasing to $11,805 in year two, a $2400 relocation bonus that now includes fellows, and increased parental leave. The physicians will also see improved meal allowances, which will increase by 40%, from $2150 to $3000 annually, and crucial improvements to educational funding, among many more key benefits. The doctors are confident that the improved contract will help guarantee that the hospital can continue to recruit talented and diverse physicians who reflect the community they serve. The previous contract was insufficient for the frontline physicians, who live in one of the nation’s most expensive regions while often carrying over $200,000 in student loan debt.
This is the second strike vote that CIR members have taken in just a few months. Earlier this year, a strike by CIR doctors employed at Los Angeles County hospitals was avoided after the County ceased engaging in objectionable bargaining practices and reached a fair deal at the bargaining table with their doctors.
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 22,000 resident physicians and fellows. Our members are dedicated to improving residency training and education, advancing patient care, and expanding healthcare access for our communities.