Union FAQs (RFPU-NW)

1. What is CIR?

The Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR) is a union run by residents for residents. Founded in 1957, it’s the largest housestaff union representing over 22,000 members across California, New Mexico, Illinois, Florida, DC, New York, New Jersey, Vermont and Massachusetts. It is a local of SEIU, a labor union representing nearly 2 million workers in the US and Canada.

2. What are the benefits of affiliating with CIR?

Affiliating with CIR allows us to join 22,000 other residents nationwide and work towards standardizing salaries and benefits. With this affiliation, RFPU will bring additional strength to the bargaining table at future negotiations. We will also have CIR and SEIU behind us when we need to appeal to the State for assistance. Our Union will have access to more tools and resources (including established access to media contacts, organized outside board room approach to support negotiations, etc.) to effectively demand equity as we enter future contract negotiations.

3. What would be the expected change in monthly dues?

There will be no immediate change in dues. There will be a two year dues phase in. CIR dues are standard at 1.6% nationwide (that’s an average of $31-$100 change per month) and will be phased-in gradually over a 2 year time period. While this would be an increase, our 0.5% dues is significantly lower than most unions throughout the country. The average dues paid by union members in 2021 was 1.5%-4.0%. CIR’s 1.6% dues rate, therefore, is still relatively low.

4. Why should we increase dues in order to join CIR?

Although dues for CIR are higher than we are used to paying, their rate is consistent with many other labor unions across the country. The cost of dues is more than offset by the gains won at the bargaining table. As an example, CIR residents at LA County organized a strike vote during their negotiations this year. This resulted in an increase in their PGY1 salary by 14.5% (5.5% for all other housestaff), compared to our increase of 3%. Although we have made progress with our bargaining efforts as an independent union, our hope is that the institutional knowledge and organizational support provided by CIR will increase our ability to engage members, perform highly organized collective actions, and substantially improve our negotiation outcomes.

5. How would CIR assist us in upcoming negotiations?

Being part of CIR will allow us access to resources including attorneys and other key staff who can help us strategize at the bargaining table, organize, and mobilize to escalate our demands as needed. CIR will also provide a RFPU-based contract organizer dedicated to enforcing our contract and engaging the membership in regard to RFPU’s events and actions. We will also have access to SEIU’s network of allies throughout Washington.

6. What is the difference between the process for negotiations between CIR and RFPU?

Both RFPU and CIR take pride in running member-driven bargaining tables where residents determine priorities, proposals, and make strategic decisions. With affiliation, RFPU would have access to staff who would assist in communications, mobilization, political and community outreach, research, legal strategies, and collective bargaining. With these added resources, we can be stronger during negotiations and run an effective campaign away from the table to secure a strong contract.

7. What actions from CIR were successful in UCLA contract negotiations?

UCLA’s first contract campaign was not easy. A combination of negotiations, collective action, public affairs and political strategies were implemented in order to win significant raises and benefits.

8. What are the next steps?

We want to make this decision with our membership. We have put together resources for initial questions, and have scheduled town halls you can attend with RFPU board members, RFPU staff, and CIR staff to answer more detailed questions or voice comments and concerns. Your signature means that you stand behind our Board’s unanimous decision to affiliate with CIR. Our next step is to ensure that a majority of our members are with us.

9. Who do I contact if I have further questions?

You can send questions to admin@rfpu.org where one of the RFPU Board Members will answer your questions. All board members are current residents or fellows.