Stroger docs battling to join union

  • By Alex Parker
  • Staff Writer
  • June 25, 2009 @ 11:00 AM

A group of doctors at Stroger Hospital is pushing for union representation and says the Cook County health system is trying to quash the effort. 

A union representative says doctors plan to tell the system's board Friday that long hours and large workloads are preventing them from giving patients the best care.

They'll be accompanied by nurses and members of faith-based groups who are also concerned about quality of care.

“We want to set a positive tone and again reach out to this board, and ask them to work with us as partners,” says Emily Young, regional representative for the SEIU Doctors' Council.

The union represents about 190 doctors at Provident, Oak Forest and Cermak hospitals, as well as doctors at the county’s ambulatory clinic network.

In March, SEIU filed a petition with the Illinois Labor Relations Board to form a union at Stroger. The county hired a law firm to intervene, organizers say.

Young says the county believes the roughly 300 doctors at Stroger serve in a supervisory role that precludes them from joining a union.

“Our goal is to have a voice in the working conditions that will allow doctors to do what they’re trained to do, which is to give good patient care,” Young says. “On the union side, the doctors have a voice.”

Health system spokesman Marcel Bright could not be reached for comment.

Daily News Staff Writer Alex Parker covers public health. He can be reached at 773.362.5002, ext. 17, or alex [at] chitowndailynews [dot] org.