FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2021
Press Contact: Dara Streit
P: (415) 914-5616
Over 800 UIC Resident Physicians Form Union, Certified by IL Educational Labor Relations Board
UIC Resident Physicians and Fellows, caring for Chicago’s underserved population, join 20,000 CIR/SEIU members nationwide to fight for excellent patient care
Chicago, IL – As of August 30, the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board has certified the Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU (CIR/SEIU) to represent the 842 Interns, Resident and Fellow Physicians at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) for collective bargaining. This is the first CIR/SEIU chapter in Chicago and the Midwest.
Amidst surging student debt, ever-rising costs of living, and a healthcare landscape continually reducing patients to dollars, the UIC resident physicians will now have a greater say over the well-being of their colleagues and patients.
“Even pre-pandemic, we were concerned about the lack of resources we were forced to work with. Once Covid hit, all of the issues that we struggled with multiplied exponentially– from not having enough space and support staff to challenges facing our patients because of inadequate social services. It became clear that we needed a voice so that we can meaningfully participate in decisions that affect our training and patient care,” said Dr. Perry Tsai, a third-year Psychiatry Resident.
Resident-led organizing efforts began over a year ago amidst concerns about how programs were functioning and their impacts on physician safety, working conditions and patient care. On April 30th, UIC Interns, Resident and Fellow physicians filed union authorization cards with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board as proof of the overwhelming majority support.
In uniting together, UIC’s CIR/SEIU members have gained a seat at the table to improve the healthcare system at a time when underserved Chicagoans are losing access to healthcare resources.
“Several safety net hospitals in our area have closed recently and our community is depending on us. With a union, we’re not only advocating for ourselves; we have a stronger voice to fight for our patients too,” said Dr. Lena Carleton, a second-year Internal Medicine/Emergency Medicine Resident.
Now represented by CIR/SEIU, the Interns, Resident and Fellow physicians at UIC will soon begin collective bargaining on their first contract.
“To me, a union not only means a seat at the table and a voice for change, it means being able to improve the lives of our patients,” said Dr. Amy Eisenberg, a second-year Internal Medicine/Emergency Medicine Resident. “We fight everyday to provide the best for our patients – part of that fight is providing the best care for ourselves.”
The Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR) is the largest housestaff union in the United States. A local of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), representing over 20,000 resident physicians and fellows. Our members are dedicated to improving residency training and education, advancing patient care, and expanding healthcare access for our communities.