UCSF-Fresno Resident Physicians Vote Overwhelmingly to Form Union


June 7, 2021
Press Contact: Tricia Piper-Bennett
E: patricia@telegraphpr.com
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UCSF-Fresno Resident Physicians Vote Overwhelmingly to Form Union
As hospitals cut residency slots, freeze pay, Interns, Residents and Fellows vote to join CIR/SEIU 

Fresno, CA– On Friday, the Interns, Resident and Fellow physicians at UCSF-Fresno filed union authorization cards with the California Public Employment Relations Board, after an overwhelming majority voted to join the Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU (CIR/SEIU). The filing comes amidst the rising trend of medical intern, resident and fellow physician unionization in California and more broadly nationwide. Over the next few weeks, the labor board will be processing the petition to certify the union.

“Many residents, like me,  call the Central Valley home,” began Dr. Sarah Koser, a first-year Emergency Medicine Resident physician. “We are invested in our community and are unionizing to ensure we can continue to provide the best care possible to our patients.” 

The UCSF-Fresno Resident physicians join the ranks of roughly 6,000 UC resident physicians, at nearly every other residency program in the UC system, who have unionized in recent years to improve working conditions and patient care.

“The pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of our healthcare system as a pillar of our community,” said Dr. Nathan Dreyfus, a first-year Emergency Medicine Resident physician. “But it has also demonstrated that resident physicians are asked to bear a burden -in terms of workplace risk, workload, hours, stress and personal sacrifice- that is often out of proportion to the level of support we receive.”  

Resident-led organizing efforts began during the pandemic as program benefits were cut and residency slots were reduced. It became clear that the Resident physicians needed an avenue to voice their concerns and take agency over their training. 

“In the midst of a pandemic our protections were stripped, positions and funding cut,” said Dr. Eric Blumenfeld, a first-year Psychiatry Resident physician. “Administrative pressures forced undue stress upon us, jeopardizing our ability to fulfill vital healthcare roles. We are unionizing to ensure we have the necessary resources to continue caring for our gravely disadvantaged and deserving community to a respectable standard.” 

“We care deeply about the future of UCSF Fresno and our primary hospital affiliate, Community Regional Medical Center, and believe that a strong, continued partnership will serve our community in the Central Valley for many years to come,” Dr. Dreyfus remarked. “By safeguarding adequate support for our residents, we will ensure the current and future health of our peers, our training programs, and most importantly – our patients.”

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 18,000 resident physicians and fellows. Our members are dedicated to improving residency training and education, advancing patient care, and expanding healthcare access for our communities.