In 2014, Oregon’s Sacred Heart Medical Center floated plans to outsource the jobs of “hospitalists” – staff MDs who oversee treatment of hospital patients. The doctors, alarmed at the proposal and concerned that untenable patient loads would follow, organized and voted 30-3 in favor of forming a union. The AFT-affiliated Sacred Heart group is not the only union-represented unit of medical doctors in the United States, though they may well be the only such group at a Catholic hospital. Their story came to national attention with “Doctors Unionize to Resist the Medical Machine,” an account by Noam Schriber in the New York Times.
First contracts often take some time to develop, but after nearly two years the doctors are losing patience. Modern Healthcare reports that they are planning a one-day informational picket to press for quicker progress.