FAQ

What is a union/Why a union?

What is a housestaff union?

A union is a group of workers who use their collective strength/voice to bargain for better working conditions. A union gives us more power and leverage to effect changes on everything we want—from better pay and benefits to improving patient care and more—than we would have if we negotiate as individuals. What is CIR? The… Read More »What is a housestaff union?

What can we bargain for?

We are unionizing to have a stronger voice and federally protected right to bargain about issues that matter to us, our colleagues, and our patients. The individual issues are up to us – what do you feel strongly enough about that you would fight for it? More workplace protections? Better benefits? Improved parental leave? Speaking… Read More »What can we bargain for?

Is CIR a third party?

How do we really know OUR interests will be represented? Our union is led by housestaff – not CIR staff. The union organizing effort at Stanford was initiated by housestaff and led by housestaff (find us on the big purple posters in the workrooms!) Residents/fellows will nominate housestaff representatives to be leaders of our union… Read More »Is CIR a third party?

I’m pretty happy/I’m graduating soon – why should I support a union?

We need everyone’s support to give all housestaff a voice. Working conditions may not be the same in all programs, and may not always stay the same. Residency/fellowship experiences can be extremely dependent on program leadership, and our current benefits do not have the protections of a union contract. The best time to form a… Read More »I’m pretty happy/I’m graduating soon – why should I support a union?

Residency is supposed to be hard – shouldn’t we just suck it up?

 Resident salaries have been consistently falling over the last 40+ years in terms of cost of living – residents today have 29% less disposable income after correcting for inflation than residents in 1970, despite continuing increases in educational debt. Having a union will help us maintain good working conditions and advocate for ourselves (e.g. vaccine roll-out,… Read More »Residency is supposed to be hard – shouldn’t we just suck it up?

Why we’re unionizing – from your fellow housestaff

Debunking misleading statements and focusing in on why we need to harness our collective voice for real change. Dear Residents and Fellows of Stanford Health Care, As your GME Council housestaff representatives (GMEC reps), we wanted to clarify some important points raised in recent communications between the GME office and the housestaff and their program… Read More »Why we’re unionizing – from your fellow housestaff

How can we avoid tensions between departments, which already exist in our hospital and are harmful to teamwork?

Organizing a union is all about building community and solidarity. Currently the majority of interactions between housestaff are in the settings of consults and admissions, often in the middle of the night and sleep-deprived. Better working conditions negotiated with our contract can help to alleviate burnout, and our union is an opportunity to get to… Read More »How can we avoid tensions between departments, which already exist in our hospital and are harmful to teamwork?

Can’t we just go through the normal GME channels?

Well, this has been hard to write. As three of the housestaff organizers (Grant, Jessie, and Lawrence), we also served as your GME Council housestaff representatives for the past year. We have debated the benefit of openly sharing our experience with the current “process for dialogue.” Given the continued misleading messaging from GME regarding the… Read More »Can’t we just go through the normal GME channels?

We won!

With great joy, we announce that Stanford residents and fellows have overwhelmingly voted to unionize, with 835 yes votes (80% of all votes cast) and a 73% turnout (1049/1442 eligible voters). We are proud to claim our legal right to a seat at the table. Our vote represents our call for restoration of purpose by giving us… Read More »We won!

 

Bargaining

What can we bargain for?

We are unionizing to have a stronger voice and federally protected right to bargain about issues that matter to us, our colleagues, and our patients. The individual issues are up to us – what do you feel strongly enough about that you would fight for it? More workplace protections? Better benefits? Improved parental leave? Speaking… Read More »What can we bargain for?

Could we really end up with less?

Only if we all voted on a contract that gave us less…employers often emphasize that with contract negotiations we could end up with more, or less. “Did you know, that when a union enters negotiations, our wages could go up? Or they could go down.” “Wait my wages could go up?” “Or they could go… Read More »Could we really end up with less?

Will a union prevent my program from giving additional benefits?

No – this is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ situation, but rather ‘no specialty left behind’. CIR contracts regularly ensure that all housestaff receive the same base level of benefits regardless of program, but do not prevent departments from giving benefits on top of that (e.g. additional department-specific housing or meal stipends). For example, you may hear… Read More »Will a union prevent my program from giving additional benefits?

What have other unions won?

$12k-13k/year housing stipends, COVID impact pay, 6 weeks paid parental leave, $2M patient care funds, and more – check out some of the previous union contract wins from CIR-affiliated programs across the country, and tell us what issues you want to fight for at Stanford! If you’re asking, “why should we ask for more” –… Read More »What have other unions won?

What’s going on with CRONA?

CRONA (the nurse’s union at Stanford) has been bargaining for their contract, which expired March 31, 2022. Please see below for the issues they have been bargaining for, including better staffing and mental health support, and the hospital’s response. After management failed to agree to a contract with these changes, on April 8, 2022, a… Read More »What’s going on with CRONA?

Fill out your bargaining survey by August 12!

What do you want included in your first union contract? Let us know by filling out the bargaining survey [http://bit.ly/stanfordbargainingsurvey] created by your co-residents and fellows on the Bargaining Team. Our initial contract proposals will be based on the results of this survey. The survey will be deidentified by staff such that no residents (or Stanford) will have access to individual responses.… Read More »Fill out your bargaining survey by August 12!

Can bad things happen?

Do I have to strike?

No – strikes by physicians are very rare and are a chapter decision. We could set a threshold at Stanford of requiring > 90% support, or higher – it is up to us if we want this to even be an option. Strikes are a measure of last resort and would only be in response… Read More »Do I have to strike?

Can I face retaliation for supporting a union?

First, the union card and vote are confidential! You do not have to be a vocal member to support unionization. Additionally, it is illegal (per the National Labor Relations Board) for an employer to retaliate against an employee for union activities. They cannot ask you if you support the union, or threaten any punitive action… Read More »Can I face retaliation for supporting a union?

Could we really end up with less?

Only if we all voted on a contract that gave us less…employers often emphasize that with contract negotiations we could end up with more, or less. “Did you know, that when a union enters negotiations, our wages could go up? Or they could go down.” “Wait my wages could go up?” “Or they could go… Read More »Could we really end up with less?

Do I have to join the union?

Our union is only as strong as our members – being a member will add to our collective strength, help us stand up to an employer like Stanford, and allow you to have a say on what we do with this power. A stronger, united membership gives us the leverage to win what we’re fighting… Read More »Do I have to join the union?

Will a union prevent my program from giving additional benefits?

No – this is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ situation, but rather ‘no specialty left behind’. CIR contracts regularly ensure that all housestaff receive the same base level of benefits regardless of program, but do not prevent departments from giving benefits on top of that (e.g. additional department-specific housing or meal stipends). For example, you may hear… Read More »Will a union prevent my program from giving additional benefits?

Can I be fired for not joining a union?

No! While our union will have greater negotiating power and be more effective with strong unified membership, no one is required to join the union. If you do not want to be a member, you will still benefit from any contract that the union negotiates and will thus pay a fair share fee (percentage of… Read More »Can I be fired for not joining a union?

Will a union come between me and my department?

No! Stanford administration is claiming that “this direct relationship between our physician trainees and their clinical departments will change should our residents and fellows unionize because that relationship will then be between Stanford Health Care and the union”. As housestaff, why would we want our union to interfere with productive conversations between housestaff and their… Read More »Will a union come between me and my department?

Responses to GME ‘FAQs’

Feeling confused by the messaging from the hospital? Here’s our point-by-point response. Stanford Health Care and GME have sent out this FAQ to program leadership, residents, and fellows. To provide balanced information and share insights from our year-plus of organizing efforts, your housestaff organizers compiled our answers to the same questions to help dispel misleading… Read More »Responses to GME ‘FAQs’

Why aren’t you replying to those emails to correct the misinformation?

One of the big disadvantages we have is that sending union-related information to or from Stanford housestaff emails is forbidden – meaning we cannot ‘reply all’ to Larry Katznelson’s email, email the housestaff-wide mailing list, or email our colleagues at their Stanford email addresses. Thus we have to rely on other methods such as this… Read More »Why aren’t you replying to those emails to correct the misinformation?

Can’t we just go through the normal GME channels?

Well, this has been hard to write. As three of the housestaff organizers (Grant, Jessie, and Lawrence), we also served as your GME Council housestaff representatives for the past year. We have debated the benefit of openly sharing our experience with the current “process for dialogue.” Given the continued misleading messaging from GME regarding the… Read More »Can’t we just go through the normal GME channels?

My PD told us we can’t make any changes because of ‘status quo’…

The intent of status quo is to preserve our current benefits and conditions as a floor (not a ceiling) and prevent unilateral changes made without the consent of the housestaff, but your PD may be hearing something different from the employer. It is important for you to know that: It is untrue to make the blanket… Read More »My PD told us we can’t make any changes because of ‘status quo’…

The nuts & bolts

How much does a union cost? Do I have to pay dues?

No one pays dues until the union membership has voted to ratify a contract. Resident unions have never ratified a contract with benefits that do not outweigh the cost of dues. CIR dues are 1.6% of base pay and are used to support the infrastructure of collective bargaining (e.g. pay for things like contract negotiations,… Read More »How much does a union cost? Do I have to pay dues?

Do I have to join the union?

Our union is only as strong as our members – being a member will add to our collective strength, help us stand up to an employer like Stanford, and allow you to have a say on what we do with this power. A stronger, united membership gives us the leverage to win what we’re fighting… Read More »Do I have to join the union?

Wait, what’s happening with this election?

On 2/22/2022, we demanded voluntary recognition of our union with supermajority (>65%) support (nearly 1000 people signed cards indicating support!) Stanford denied this request, so on 2/24/2022 we filed for an election with the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) The election is completely confidential (no one will know your vote) The election is won by… Read More »Wait, what’s happening with this election?

🎉 It’s election day!

Union ballots are being counted today, May 2! It’s a good day (to fight the system). Thanks to everyone for all their hard work in getting to this point, and to everyone who voted and participated! Share our vibes with the playlist below. Here’s a brief rundown of how the NLRB vote count process works:… Read More »🎉 It’s election day!

My PD told us we can’t make any changes because of ‘status quo’…

The intent of status quo is to preserve our current benefits and conditions as a floor (not a ceiling) and prevent unilateral changes made without the consent of the housestaff, but your PD may be hearing something different from the employer. It is important for you to know that: It is untrue to make the blanket… Read More »My PD told us we can’t make any changes because of ‘status quo’…