PHYSICIAN UNIONIZATION: Seattle Doctors Say ‘Yes’
Physicians at Seattle-based Medalia HealthCare voted 104-75 yesterday to affiliate with the United Salaried Physicians and Dentists union. According to the Everett Herald, the vote "is thought to be the first successful unionization of physicians in the Northwest" (Salyer, 6/3). Dr. Dag Vandermeer, a member of the local organizing committee, said: "This vote confirms what we already knew. We need to have a voice in Medalia and how we take care of our patients. We want to work with our administration to make Medalia the best place possible to give and receive health care." Jeff Rugg, the organizing director of USPD, said: "This is part of a growing national trend. ... [Doctors are] learning that it takes a union to deal effectively with the changes being driven in health care by large corporations, managed care companies and decreased funding. Medalia is the largest group of private sector doctors to organize to date in the United States. We expect that the doctors' victory in Seattle will only accelerate doctors' efforts across the country to unionize" (USPD release, 6/2). Reacting to the vote, Medalia spokesperson Steve Brennan said, "Clearly we're disappointed with the results, but we are committed to continuing to work to address the issues that will help Medalia become a more cohesive medical group" (Herald, 6/3).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.