For millions who work in health care settings, including doctors, nurses, technicians, home health and nursing home workers, and environmental services and nutrition specialists, the difficult days of the COVID-19 pandemic greatly amplified existing concerns about work conditions, staffing shortages, patient safety, and risks to their own health and wellbeing. Stressful conditions have contributed to the massive shortage of primary care providers in the United States, with far fewer medical school students choosing to go into primary care. Unionization efforts among physicians-in-training (interns, residents, and fellows) have been in the media spotlight and in October 2023, tens of thousands of unionized workers at Kaiser Permanente walked out in the largest healthcare strike in American history.
This event will cover legal and ethical aspects of unionization among health care workers and a snapshot of the current state of unionization. Is it legal for physicians-in-training to unionize? Is it ethical to do so in all circumstances? How might unionization affect the crisis in primary care? How is unionization aligned – or not – with patient interests?