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Salem Hospital doctors to form a union through Council 93

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Salem Hospital doctors to form a union through Council 93
By AFSCME Council 93 ·
Tags: Priorities

SALEM, Mass. – As part of their effort to ensure the continued delivery of quality care, a group of 96 physicians at Salem Hospital have taken an important step in their ongoing effort to form a union through AFSCME Council 93.

With signed authorization cards from a solid majority of their prospective bargaining unit, the doctors have formally requested that Salem Hospital management voluntarily recognize their union. That would avoid what is often a prolonged and contentious election process that the doctors believe would disrupt care and unnecessarily delay what they view as the inevitable formation of a new bargaining unit.

Under National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) precedent, management has 14 days to either recognize the union or file a petition seeking an election whose outcome would be decided via secret ballot. 

Council 93 Executive Director Mark Bernard said he hopes management voluntarily recognizes the physicians’ union.

“The NLRB requires signed authorization cards of just 30% of a new unit before a petition can be filed,” said Bernard. “We have signed cards from 96 of the 145 physicians. That’s a decisive majority. Should management decide to seek an election, we would only need a simple majority to vote in favor of the union. It’s our hope that hospital leaders will recognize and respect the strong support for a union and move immediately to begin negotiating a first contract that will address the wide range of concerns expressed for many years by these dedicated professionals.”

Doctors at Salem Hospital view unionization as the best and perhaps only way to improve patient care at a community hospital beset by budget cutbacks, short-staffing and decision-making without the input of front-line staff.

Council 93, based in Boston, represents approximately 45,000 public and private sector workers in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. The council is affiliated with AFSCME, which represents more than 1.4 million public service workers nationwide, including approximately 3,000 physicians in California; Washington, D.C.; Nevada; Illinois and Washington.

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