Do I have to strike?

  • FAQ
  • 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 to an egregious action by the hospital. The last resident physician strike was in the 1980s and led by residents employed by the County of Los Angeles, to advocate for a patient care fund. CIR contracts, like most union contracts, generally contain no-strike clauses. There are other types of collective action that can be used to help our negotiation, such as media pressure or unity breaks.
  • So then what’s our bargaining power?
    • Our power is through collective action – which simply means that a group of people work together to achieve a common goal.
    • Look no further than the demonstration following the COVID vaccine rollout debacle, which proved that a collective group of committed housestaff (and some PR) can get the hospital administration to respond very quickly.
    • When a small group of people try to bargain with a big employer, they’re often ignored and dismissed – the hospital also knows that if they wait long enough, we’ll eventually graduate and be out of their hair (ask your GMEC reps about their experience). The employer can’t ignore a union of 1400+ residents with a legally backed seat at the table for negotiations!
  • What does collective action look like?
    • Visibility in the hospital – pins, masks, flyers, and speaking up in town halls, showing that we are united and strong together. (We have solidarity with many other unions: CRONA, UHW, and other housestaff unions in California and across the country.)
    • Getting our message out to the public – describing the challenges of providing quality patient care when burned out in an op ed, or with legislators. Moreover, these days, we live in an interconnected world and can band together on social media to put pressure on the hospital administration.
    • Unity breaks – effectively what we did with the vaccine rollout, this means having housestaff visibly standing together in support, and often with media coverage. Since these are short (e.g. 15 min or lunchtime) breaks, this doesn’t affect patient care.