UC HOSPITALS: ‘State Opens Door to Union’
The Sacramento Public Employment Relations Board ruled this week that "2000 residents and interns at three University of California hospitals are employees, not students, clearing the way for them to hold an unprecedented union election," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The decision affects doctors-in-training at UC San Francisco, UC Davis and UC Los Angeles, and could eventually spread to UC Irvine and UC San Diego. Dr. Andrea Cervenka, president of the intern and residents group said, "It's not the money as much as it is the working conditions. Residents work 36-hour shifts and 120-hour weeks. You don't want to be the patient who gets seen at the end of one of those weeks." But UC spokesperson Brad Hayward contends that the "nature of their duties makes [residents and interns] primarily students." Coming at a time when doctors are looking to unions to help counter industry cost cutting, legal observers note that the ruling could also influence the National Labor Relations Board, which is currently deliberating whether to overturn a 1976 federal decision that classifies all medical interns and residents as students. But former NLRB chair Bill Gould notes that a reversal is unlikely saying "pressure" from congressional Republicans is preventing an NLRB ruling (Abate, 11/4).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.