TAKE ACTION: Email UW Medicine Leadership

Send this email to UW Medicine Leadership to tell them we deserve these protections and compensation for the risks we have taken and continue to take as we care for patients during this pandemic.

UW has received $113 million in federal stimulus awards related to COVID. This is funding that needs to be used to support frontline workers, like us who are struggling to get by, while sacrificing our physical and mental health during this pandemic. We were some of the first doctors in the country to care for COVID+ patients and we’ve encountered an unprecedented amount of death in the last year and a half. Our employer needs to support us physically, mentally, and financially. Most resident physicians make less than minimum wage per hour. Our co-residents and fellows are strong and willing to make great sacrifices to care for our patients, but we should not be stressed about how to support our families and afford food and housing while working on the frontlines.

Many of our peer institutions like University of Michigan, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Mayo Clinic, Mount Sinai have received hazard pay during this time.

Even if you personally have not been impacted by COVID, please send this email on behalf of your Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, etc. co-residents who have been tirelessly working in the ICUs since last March.

COVID MOU: RFPU-NW Members Meet with GME & Labor Relations

Last Friday, Sept. 24th RFPU-NW members and UW GME & Labor Relations met to bargain the extension of our COVID MOU, which expired on July 31, 2021.

Original COVID MOU (expiration: 7/31/21)

Labor Relations/GME Proposal (sent: 9/23/21)

RFPU – NW Counterproposal (sent: 9/27/21)

Labor Relations/GME Counterproposal (sent: 10/1/21)

Most notably, our counterproposal includes a COVID Bonus for the continued and ongoing strain COVID has placed on all of us over the last year and a half. You and your co-residents have worked tirelessly, sacrificing yourselves to take care of your community, during this incredibly stressful time. It’s time UW takes care of us as well.

What can YOU do to get you & your co-residents a COVID bonus?

Fighting for what we deserve takes a lot of work, we can only do this if you are involved too!

RFPU signs MOU with UW re: COVID Protections

UPDATE: The COVID MOU was extended with a few updates on November 16, 2021. See here!

To all our members, 

This week, we finalized negotiations for the COVID19 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This MOU is essentially a shorter, time limited version of a contract between the employer and our union. 

We began negotiating this MOU in March, in an attempt to secure protections both for the health and safety of our members and patients, but also in protection of your legal benefits and rights. We were able to secure some of these rights early in the process, which have now become the norm – but as with any benefit we secure, it must be memorialized to ensure it is maintained. Paid administrative leave for those who tested positive for COVID19 and free parking were benefits and rights secured for you and other union members by partnering with the coalition of unions at UW. These were not given freely by the University of Washington: they were hard-fought, direct results of union coalition action.

It took seven months for us to get Labor Relations to agree to this language. It’s disappointing that UW continues to fight us on basic protections for residents and fellows, especially during a pandemic – but this agreement is crucial to:

1. Keep our members safe

2. Keep us in line with protections other institutions have already afforded their employees.

Below you will find the highlights, as well as the MOU language linked.

  • In the instance of redeployment, trainees will have the opportunity to request alternative scheduling options if they are pregnant, have a disability, have a serious health condition or are part of an identified at-risk group
  • No employee will be disciplined or retaliated against for requesting PPE
  • No employee will be forced to work in an environment where PPE required by UW Medicine policies and guidelines cannot be provided by UW Medicine
  • An employee who is unable to work due to childcare needs will be eligible for leave
  • The employer will provide all trainees who have been exposed with notice of exposure
  • Those who rescinded their pre-approved vacations in April 2020, were permitted to rollover 7 days of vacation, will be guaranteed the rollover days in this academic year.
  • GME will conduct regular town hall meetings where trainees can ask question live and can talk in real time

Important reminders:

  • Unfortunately, paid admin leave is only protected for those who were exposed at work. We advise members to continue to exercise caution outside of work and to minimize potential exposures; however, Gov. Inslee has directed the Department of Labor & Industries to assume workplace exposure for health care workers for purposes of workers’ compensation. Please let us know if you have trouble receiving paid admin leave.
  • If any of the language in this MOU is being violated or even if you think it might be, reach out to admin@rfpu.org, your Department Rep or a RFPU Board Member and let them know. We will keep this information secure and anonymous. 

If you have questions/comments/concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out. 

In solidarity,

Your co-residents and fellows at RFPU – NW

UWHA Condemns the Firing of Dr. Ming Lin

The UWHA fully supports Dr. Ming Lin, a physician who fearlessly advocated for the safety of the staff and patients at PeaceHealth. Disturbingly, PeaceHealth and TeamHealth subsequently terminated him for speaking up. At hospitals across the country, there is a massive shortage of PPE, and many hospital protocols are haphazard, confusing, or even dangerous. When faced with unsafe or unjust conditions, physicians have a professional and moral duty to advocate for what is right for patients and for their fellow healthcare workers. Now is not the time to file paperwork and let these issues trickle up the bureaucratic ladder. These are systemic problems that need to be fixed NOW. We stand in solidarity with Dr. Lin, a physician who did the right thing even though he knew he might be punished for it. Rather than seeking to suppress whistleblowers, employers must engage their employees to collaboratively solve these complex problems. Only by working together, can we ensure that both our patients and co-workers are protected during these challenging times.