Medical Residents, Fellows at Mass General Brigham Make Push for Union

Unionizing among medical residents is a growing nationwide trend that picked up speed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A push is underway among medical residents and fellows to unionize at multiple Mass General Brigham hospitals, as frustration over compensation simmers in the wake of pandemic, according to The Boston Globe.

If the effort goes through, more than 2,500 residents and fellows would join the Committee of Interns and Residents, at the Service Employees International Union, the Globe reported.

A website advocating for the unionization outlines the group's goals, which include safe and healthy working and learning conditions, adequate compensation and benefits, and solidarity with colleagues.

Mass General Brigham, meanwhile, has pushed back against the unionization effort, according to the Globe, and says that it already provides workers with strong pay and benefits.

“We were happy to step up in the context of the pandemic to care for patients, to go above and beyond and practice outside our usual areas of practice,” Dr. Kayty Himmelstein told the Globe. “What we expected was to be treated with dignity and compensated fairly and haven’t always had that experience.”

In a statement to the Globe, interim chief academic officer of Mass General Brigham Dr. Paul Anderson said the hospital "is home to some of the top-ranked and highest-paid residency programs in the country."

"Though health care is facing unprecedented challenges, Mass General Brigham remains committed to the lifelong advancement of our medical trainees and working directly together to continuously improve our educational programs," Dr. Anderson's statement continued.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, unionizing medical residents is a growing nationwide trend that picked up speed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Every year, we had one or two new organizing campaigns, but once COVID hit, that number pretty much tripled,” says Sunyata Altenor, communications director for the Committee of Interns and Residents, told the AAMC. “It was a massive wave, and we anticipate that it will continue to grow.”

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