March 16, 2023

Matthew Fontana Comments on Medical Residents Union Trend With Law360

In “Resident Doctors See Unions as Cure to COVID-Era Job Woe,” Law360 turned to labor and employment partner Matthew Fontana for his commentary on the rising trend of union organizing among hospital interns, residents and fellows.

Fontana said the resident organizing trend is firmly on his clients’ radar and that the trend poses certain challenges for health systems. They are “price-takers, not price-makers” because they can only charge what the government and insurers are willing to pay, limiting their ability to pay the raises that residents, nurses and others are demanding amid industrywide staff shortages, he explained.

Fontana noted that from a worker relations standpoint, health systems may struggle to reconcile the process of providing an education within the strictures of a union contract. Unions typically negotiate a disciplinary process that limits employer discretion, which can make it tougher to provide the feedback necessary to mold skilled doctors, he added.

“This [organizing trend] compounds the challenges, from a personnel standpoint, that a lot of health systems face in trying to hit the right balance,” said Fontana.

The full article is available for Law360 subscribers.

Full Article

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