Nov 16, 2022 - News

UCSF medical residents demand better pay, benefits

A medical provider in blue scrubs stands outside UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Medical residents and fellows at the University of California, San Francisco are demanding better pay and benefits.

State of play: Represented by the Committee of Interns and Residents chapter of Service Employees International Union, UCSF residents and fellows in the medical department are hosting lunchtime events today and tomorrow to speak out against current labor practices at the hospital.

  • The two-day action coincides with a larger effort across the UC system to obtain labor contracts with fair pay and better benefits.
  • On Monday, tens of thousands of academic workers at UC campuses went on strike demanding better pay and benefits, according to the workers' union, the United Auto Workers.
  • Residents and fellows at UCSF won't engage in any work stoppage, but want to signal they're unhappy with the progress at the bargaining table, Kelley Butler, a second-year resident and a resident-led union leader, told Axios.

Why it matters: Some UCSF residents can't afford basic necessities, Butler said. Residents who graduated in 2021, for example, had a median school debt of $200,000, per the Association of American Medical Colleges.

What they're saying: "I'm looking down the barrel of a student loan repayment that I can't really afford in January," Butler said.

  • There's a belief, Butler said, across the medical field that "you're supposed to suffer; you're not supposed to be well during residency … but we're here to argue that [shouldn't] be the case."

The other side: UCSF did not return Axios' request for comment.

What to watch: Wednesday's lunchtime event will be at UCSF's Mission Bay campus and Thursday's will be at the Parnassus campus.

  • Residents in the bargaining unit hope to see a "wage increase that reflects inflation," Butler said.
  • They also want members of the public to recognize that "if we have our basic needs met, and we are operating from a fuller cup, I'm a better doctor, period."
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