Kaiser Physicians Vote To Unionize

Resident and fellow physicians employed by Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Northern California voted to join the Committee of Interns and Residents, a local chapter of the Service Employees International Union.

Nearly all participating voters (99%) cast ballots in favor of unionization, according to a May 23 CIR/SEIU news release.

The National Labor Relations Board has not yet certified the results. Pending certification, the total percentage of residents represented by CIR/SEIU in California will reach 82%, according to the union.

Kaiser Permanente works with more than 40 unions that represent nearly 80% of its employees, according to its website. The physicians covered by the recent vote work across campuses in San Francisco, Santa Clara and other Northern California locations.

“When programs across Kaiser Northern California collected hundreds of signatures calling attention to our struggles with the region’s skyrocketing cost of living, many of our concerns were brushed aside,” Apoorva Dharmadhikari, MD, a second-year resident in internal medicine at Santa Clara, said in the release. “With union representation, we don’t have to settle for silence. We can demand better for ourselves and our patients.”

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente shared the following statement with Becker’s: “Kaiser Permanente respects the rights of our employees to choose to be represented by a union, and we have a strong record of working constructively with the unions that our employees elect to represent them. Yesterday, votes were tallied in a secret ballot election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board, and a majority of Kaiser Permanente Northern California’s approximately 450 residents, chief residents, fellows, and chief fellows have elected to be represented by the Committee of Interns and Residents – Service Employees International Union. We are awaiting certification of the election results by the NLRB. Once the election is certified, we look forward to working constructively with the CIR-SEIU going forward.”


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