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Season 4, Episode 251

Largest private sector union for doctors begins first contract fight



Guest Name:

Marisa Powell

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Supportive Documents:

The second guest who originally appeared on November 6, attorney and organizer for the Doctors Council SEIU, Marisa Powell, continued America’s Work Force Union Podcast “Best of 2023” coverage. In her interview, Powell discussed the organizing success of doctors in the Allina Healthcare System throughout Minnesota.

In November, over 500 doctors with Allina Healthcare in Minnesota sought out union representation. Historically, doctors have been independent, and they own their own practices. However, many doctors have joined healthcare organizations over the years and no longer make all the medical decisions —with many being made by non-medical professionals. Powell discussed how doctors began organizing efforts to improve the medical decisions being made by returning decision-making power to the medical professionals.

Powell discussed the nearly 14-month public organizing efforts needed to get to the successful vote. Doctors voted 300-200 in favor of joining the Doctors Clinic SEIU. 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 is eliminating the practice of banning patients due to outstanding medical debts. Throughout the organizing effort, this issue 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 is 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.

Listen to the show above to hear more from Powell, and continue to follow the “Best of 2023” coverage for more from some of the best guests in 2023.

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.

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