St. Barnabas Interns, Residents Can Join Union

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Medical interns and residents at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx have won the right to vote for a union. That's because the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that interns and residents are "employees," and not "medical students" as St. Barnabas management had previously argued.

"It's so important for the residents to have that voice to improve care and efficiency because they are the front-line providers," said Dr. Toni Lewis, president of the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR), which is part of Service Employees International Union. "A lot of them do 24-hour shifts." CIR represents 13,000 interns and residents in the U.S.

Interns and residents at St. Barnabas voted to join a union one year ago, but St. Barnabas appealed an earlier NLRB ruling and the ballots were subsequently frozen. Now, St. Barnabas says it will wait for the interns and residents to cast their votes before deciding what to do next. It says that the residents who voted for a union one year ago may no longer be residents at the hospital.

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