HOSPITAL INTERNS: Union Rights Necessary to Win ‘Fair and Decent Treatment’
Despite "performing some of society's most vital tasks," hospital medical interns and residents "are among the nation's most exploited workers," Sacramento Bee columnist Dick Meister writes. Forced to work as many as 120 hours per week for meager pay, they are still considered by hospitals to be "doctors-in-training ... trainees or students rather than employees." As a result, the "outrageously overworked young men and women" have been denied a "basic and essential" right -- the right to unionize and collectively bargain. Meister writes, "The hospitals had their way for many years, easily fending off sporadic challenges by interns and residents who demanded employee status," and forcing them to "accept the conditions imposed on them." But that may be changing thanks to a November decision by the National Labor Relations Board that granted union rights to interns and residents at private hospitals. A similar ruling by the California Public Employee Relations Board indicates that interns and residents at the state's public hospitals will also begin waging unionization campaigns. These "young interns and residents ... must have union rights if they are to finally win fair and decent treatment," Meister concludes (3/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.