TACOMA, Wash., Sept. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the executive committee of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD), the country's largest union of private and public employee physicians, authorized a vote to strike against MultiCare, the largest community-based health system in the state of Washington. UAPD members at MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care clinics, who have been bargaining their first contract since 2019, have overwhelmingly passed a strike authorization vote.
In a letter to MultiCare, UAPD's Bargaining Team wrote, "After a two-year fight for recognition of our union and one year of bargaining for a first contract, it has become clear to us that, despite the significant movement from the Union's side of the table, management has not taken our concerns as providers seriously, especially when it comes to the most important issue: patient safety." Additionally, "We have made sacrifices in order to uplift this organization. We have taken furloughs, been severely understaffed while seeing high patient volumes, dealt with layoffs, endured a lack of PPE yet we test COVID-19 patents every day, and have bargained in good faith without a collective bargaining agreement for almost one year while still fighting for our status quo."
Among the chief concerns being negotiated are increased safety for Indigo Urgent Care Unit medical staff and patients, and fair working conditions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous complaints have been filed with Washington Labor & Industries that include, but are not limited to, poor work conditions, insufficient supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for employees, and employer policies that prevent the proper sanitation of exam rooms.
"MultiCare's emphasis on 'exceptional fast' care is placing the public's health at risk and increasing the burden placed on healthcare providers to work longer shifts and under extraordinarily stressful and unsafe conditions," said Dr. Stuart Bussey, UAPD president and former urgent-care doctor. "Our members prefer negotiations over strikes. We are committed to a solution that protects healthcare providers and their valued patients."
Many clinics are staffed by a single provider and a small support staff. Each provider might serve up to 70 patients a day, in a high-pressure, assembly line work environment. While Indigo's healthcare providers are required to work 12-hour shift minimums, their workday is often much longer due to last minute walk-ins and charting. Often, breaks are not permitted.
"With the added stress and workload of the COVID-19 pandemic, the staff are becoming increasingly concerned that fatigue may impair their judgement and with that comes life and death consequences," said Dr. Brian Fox, a physician at Indigo Urgent Care. "It is time for MultiCare to reevaluate their mission of providing speedy care. Doctors and patients place greater importance on quality care."
There are 22 MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care locations in the Puget Sound region plus five clinics in Spokane and the greater Inland Northwest.
Founded by a private practice physician in 1972, over the last forty years the Union of American Physicians and Dentists has grown into the largest union representing licensed doctors in the United States. In the State of Washington UAPD represents over 200 physicians, advanced nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Affiliated with AFSCME and the AFL-CIO, UAPD is proud to bring the strength of the labor movement to the aid of working doctors in the interest of better healthcare for all. www.UAPD.com
CONTACTS: Dr. Stuart Bussey, UAPD President Phone 1.925.200.9310 Dr. Brian Fox, Indigo Physician 1.773.263.8591
SOURCE Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD)