Oakland Pediatric Doctors Overwhelmingly Vote to Authorize Historic Strike


Children’s Hospital Resident Physicians Seek Fair Bargaining Amid Bad Faith Negotiations

Oakland, CA— Frontline doctors at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital of Oakland, represented by the Committee of Interns and Residents – SEIU, voted to authorize their union’s bargaining committee to call for an unfair labor practice strike last week in response to the hospital’s bad faith bargaining conduct–with 100% of the 97.8% of members who voted voting “yes.” If the doctors pursue a strike, it would be the first time CIR union members have done so in 32 years. 

Bargaining has gone on for six months, with CHO engaging in bad faith bargaining tactics such as canceling bargaining sessions, delaying wage proposals, coming to the table unprepared, and providing inaccurate information about contract proposal costs. The resident physicians– who are essential to patient care at CHO and who regularly work more than 70-hour weeks–say that management must come to the table and bargain fairly now so that they can reach a resolution right away. 

“The results of our strike authorization vote show that we are collectively ready to do whatever it takes to get CHO to bargain fairly with us,” says Dr. Alicia Callejo-Black, a second-year pediatrics resident at CHO. “We are united after months of negotiations, where CHO management repeatedly disrespected us–even as we work to deliver quality patient care every day.”

Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan, City Councilmember Dan Kalb, Assembly candidate Liz Ortega, and City Council candidate Kevin Jenkins joined residents voting at the polls to express their support of fair negotiations and thank them for their service to Oakland’s youth.

By coming to the table unwilling to listen and not bargain in good faith, hospital administration is jeopardizing future recruitment of talented doctors who reflect the community they serve. “I came to CHO because I wanted to give Oakland’s children the care they deserve when they need it most,” says Dr. Billy Gravley, a second-year pediatrics resident at CHO. “But I can’t keep doing this on my current salary while paying Bay Area rent and $200,000 in student loan debt hanging over my head.The results of this vote communicate how much we are willing to sacrifice to get CHO to come to the table and bargain fairly for a contract we can all be proud of. One that will allow us to keep doing this work.”

Despite serving in one of the nation’s most expensive regions, CHO residents make an average of just $22 an hour, with many struggling to make ends meet while also paying off hundreds of thousands in student debt. 

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.