1200 doctors at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx demand union recognition–one of the single largest union efforts in healthcare this year
New York City, New York – Resident physicians at Montefiore Medical Center, one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City, have announced their intention to form a union with the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR/SEIU). After an organizing campaign that started more than a year ago, a supermajority of the 1200+ person unit has requested immediate voluntary recognition.
This historic effort is the most recent in an ongoing wave of housestaff unionization across the U.S, with more than 2,000 residents choosing to join CIR within the last six months.
Montefiore resident physicians work in the Bronx, one of New York City’s most underserved areas, where community members already face huge obstacles to accessing care. Amid the closure of an essential primary care clinic and ongoing pressure from nurses and politicians to address chronic understaffing, Montefiore housestaff cite unionizing as a way to advance health equity in the Bronx.
“So many of us chose to do our residency here because we want to work in the Bronx and with the diverse and historically underserved community that lives here- and we know we can do more. Our hope is that through our union, we can advocate for the resources we need to help improve healthcare access for the Bronx,” said Dr. Rex Tai, a second-year internal medicine resident at Montefiore Medical Center.
The physicians’ historic effort can trace its roots to the 1970s, when Montefiore residents and fellows first organized with CIR. Now, more than 40 years after the removal of their union, these frontline healthcare providers are once again demanding change.
“We are one of the last non-union residency programs in the Bronx, and it’s incredible that our predecessors here were actually one of the earliest groups of resident physicians to unionize. We’ve seen the changes our unionized colleagues have been able to make to address physician burnout, raise residency training standards and improve patient care. With our numbers, I know we can do the same,” said Dr. Clare Wynne, a third-year pediatrics resident at Montefiore Medical Center.
The Montefiore physicians hope to join the well-established union community in the hospital, including nurses represented by the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) and hospital employees represented by SEIU 1199.
“Nurses and resident physicians are responsible for providing the majority of care in Montefiore facilities, and we often confront the same issues and challenges at work— our roles are different, but our fight is one fight. NYSNA members are proud to be in solidarity with residents and fellows as they fight for a say in their working conditions and the excellent patient care the Bronx community deserves.” said Karine Raymond, NYSNA Chairperson at Montefiore Weiler Hospital.
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 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.