The Committee of Interns & Residents is the largest house staff union in the U.S., representing more than 30,000 resident physicians and fellows.
The Northwestern residents, who say they regularly work more than 80 hours per week, say a union will give them the opportunity to improve not only residency conditions but also conditions for patients, “especially those from working class communities of color who face huge obstacles to accessing care.”
"My colleagues and I are forming this union because, together, we believe that we can help improve our health system," Dr. Joseph deBettencourt, a pediatrician in his third year of residency, said in the statement. "Over the last few years we've seen a dramatic increase in the number and complexity of pediatric patients — yet due to inadequate staffing and support systems, we have to sacrifice our well-being to provide the high-quality care our patients receive. By forming a union we can gain the power and support to address these issues and actively improve our work place and the care we provide for our patients."
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Northwestern leadership did not immediately have a comment.
This is a developing story.
This story first appeared in Crain's Chicago Business.