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Season 4, Episode 219

Largest private sector union for doctors begins first contract fight

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Guest Name:

Marisa Powell

Guest Website:

https://doctorscouncil.org/ 

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Organizer for the Doctors Council SEIU and attorney, Marisa Powell, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the organizing success of doctors in the Allina Healthcare System throughout Minnesota.

Recently, over 500 doctors with Allina Healthcare in Minnesota sought out a union. Historically, doctors were independent, and they owned their own practices. However, over the years, many doctors have joined healthcare organizations and no longer make all the medical decisions —with many being made by non-medical professionals. To improve the medical decisions being made, doctors sought out union representation to have protections allowing only clinicians to make patient healthcare decisions.

The doctors voted 300-200 in favor of joining the Doctors Clinic SEIU. It took nearly 14 months of public organizing to get to the successful vote. Now the members are beginning their bargaining sessions with employers for a new contract. Ensuring that patients in Minnesota receive the best care possible is the end goal, but providing clinicians with the protections to make decisions will be the first step in contract negotiations. 

One of the major issues on the negotiation table was the fight to eliminate the practice of banning patients due to outstanding medical debts. Throughout the organizing effort, this was discussed as a major fight for the doctors, and following the organizing win, their employers canceled this policy. After their success, the Doctors Council became the largest private-sector union for clinicians in the country. Powell discussed how there has been a domino effect from their win, empowering more physicians and clinicians to seek union representation.

To hear more from Powell on the Doctors Council SEIU, listen to the show above.


America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.

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