UVMMC residents union approves contract for additional pay and benefits
The residents union at the University of Vermont Medical Center announced Thursday that they voted in favor of a contract that will raise their salaries and provide additional family and caregiver leave, among other benefits.
The union is a local chapter of the Committee of Interns and Residents, a local based in New York that is part of the Service Employees International Union.
This agreement is the first contract the UVMMC has developed with resident physicians and includes several new compensations.
The most significant is the 20% salary increase for residents over the 2 ½-year period, announced the joint press release from CIR/SEIU and UVMMC.
Annie Della Fera, the communications lead for CIR/SEIU, called the contract “astounding” and “a new standard across the country.”
“The salary is pretty groundbreaking,” she said. “It’s just a huge weight off their shoulders.”
She said many residents can not afford to live in Burlington or could not find an apartment. “I know people have moved to Vermont to enter the residency program. And they had to live out of hotels or on couches,” said Della Fera.
Della Fera also said the additional pay and compensation for family, maternity, and caregiver leave will not only better quality of work for the residents, but also improve patient care.
“Residents work at the forefront of patient care. They're pretty much, whenever you go into the hospital, they're the first doctor that patients see,” she said.
This contract also enhances the residency program at UVMMC, the only teaching hospital in Vermont.
Jason Sanders, the executive vice president of clinical affairs for the UVM Health Network, said in a press release he hopes the additional compensation will attract more doctors to the program.
“This contract will help make our already sought-after Graduate Medical Education programs even more competitive,” he said.
Bringing new doctors to Vermont could help lessen the staffing shortage hospitals are seeing across the state.
Nevertheless, Della Fera emphasized that these measures help give residents the care they also deserve. Working 80 hours a week and receiving little benefits, Della Fera referred to residency as “a pretty exploitative system.”
“They have a calling, they have a mission, and it can be glossed over that they're also people,” she said.
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