RFPU-NW Endorses Representative Jayapal’s Medicare for All Act

The Resident & Fellow Physician Union – Northwest board is proud to join numerous other local and national unions and healthcare advocacy groups in endorsing Washington state representative Pramila Jayapal’s Medicare for All Act of 2021 (H.R. 1976).

This bill would establish a national single payer universal healthcare system, bringing the United States up to speed with many other nations around the world to provide universal access to affordable healthcare. 

Representative Jayapal’s endorsement says it all: Today’s healthcare system fails to provide quality, therapeutic healthcare as a right to all people living in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans are uninsured, and at least 40 million more cannot afford the costs of their co-pays and deductibles. The quality of our healthcare is much worse than other industrialized countries—the life expectancy in the U.S. is lower than other nations, while our infant mortality rate is much higher. Yet the U.S. spends more money per capita on healthcare than any other industrialized nation. We waste hundreds of billions of dollars every year on unnecessary administrative costs, while healthcare industry executives measure success in profits, instead of patient care. The current healthcare system in the United States is ineffective, inefficient and outrageously expensive. It is time to remove the profit motive in healthcare, to resolve the inefficiencies and to guarantee quality, therapeutic healthcare to every person living in the United States.”

Many residents and fellows and our families have personally been uninsured, underinsured, or impacted by high healthcare costs. We have all seen the effects of lack of insurance, high cost to consumers, and profit-driven insurance decisions on our patients. Yet, US physicians have long failed to advocate for universal coverage. Worse, the AMA has overtly opposed nationalized healthcare for decades. Lack of insurance coverage has the most devastating impact on marginalized communities, including low-wage earners and communities of color. Achieving universal coverage is an issue of health equity, racial justice, and workers’ rights. Complicity with the current system directly violates our ethical imperative to be agents of justice in the practice of medicine.

No bill or system is perfect, but the current Medicare for All bill is a significant step in the ongoing process to achieve universal, affordable coverage and restructure healthcare for patients and workers. As physicians, we must advocate for all of our patients and our communities by demanding change to our disastrous for profit healthcare system and re-centering the patient-physician relationship. Public trust in physicians has been falling for some time – something we saw contribute to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans during the COVID pandemic. Now is the time to earn back the trust of our communities by joining them in advocating for this important piece of legislation. Still, passing M4A is not enough. We must fight for a seat at the table to shape single payer health insurance and ensure that efficiency, equity, and evidence are prioritized in M4A’s implementation.

We applaud Representative Jayapal for advocating for the most vulnerable in our society, and encourage other physician groups and union partners to join in support of Medicare for All.

Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions about Medicare For All – National Nurses United

Help us get the PRO Act Passed this year!

As union members, we are lucky to work in one of the most unionized and labor friendly states in the country. That being said, there was a mountain of hurdles we had to overcome to unionize and we still face a huge fight in bargaining our contract and holding our employer accountable. 

The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act is the biggest labor reform bill our country has seen in decades. This bill promotes workers’ rights to organize a union and bargain collectively. 

RFPU – NW supports the PRO Act because we believe all workers, regardless of their employer and the state they work in, should have the right to collectively organize and bargain. 

The PRO Act has already passed the House of Representatives and still needs three more Senate co-sponsors to be introduced on the Senate Floor. Workers across the country are tirelessly organizing to pressure Senators Mark Warner (VA), Mark Kelly (AZ), and Krysten Sinema (AZ) to join as co-sponsors.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: 

If you are from Virginia or Arizona: we encourage you to call your Senators in support of this bill. All you have to do is call their office and say “Please Co-Sponsor the PRO Act.”

If you’re not from one of these states, but want to help: there are daily phone and text banks you can join for any amount of time you’re available. Reach out and we’ll get you looped in

Interested in learning more? 

YOU can help decide who RFPU – NW endorses in local elections this year!

It’s time to start to think about the 2021 elections! Local elections are critical to seeing progress in our local labor movement, and various issues that intersect with healthcare accessibility. RFPU – NW is committed to supporting candidates who will fight to make Seattle and our region equitable for those who live here (including our patients).

This year we will be supporting candidates for City Council, (potentially County Council), and Mayor of Seattle. You are our union, so we need your help! We are seeking new members to join our Political Advocacy Working Group.

We estimate that the endorsements process will be a 3-4 hour commitment, spread over two (virtual) meetings in May. As a member of the political advocacy working group you will assist with updating our candidate questionnaire, review the submitted questionnaires, rate candidates based on criteria that aligns with our mission and values, and make endorsement recommendations. The working groups’ recommendations will then go on to our full dues-paying membership to approve.

You don’t need to have prior political experience, just an interest in supporting intersectional, pro-labor candidates. The working group is open to all dues-paying members, including incoming ‘21-22 members who have filled out a membership card.

Fill out this form if you’re interested in joining the Political Advocacy Working Group!

If you want to partake in the endorsements process, please fill out the form by May 1st. We will then follow up with a doodle to schedule the meetings and get you in the slack group.

If you are unable to join the endorsement process, the working group still does work throughout the year and accepts team members on a rolling basis.

In solidarity,

RFPU – NW Political Advocacy Working Group

Take Action: Support SHB 1348

RFPU – NW has recently endorsed SHB 1348, Providing medical assistance to incarcerate patients. 

The majority of people incarcerated are incarcerated for less than 30 days. This bill updates current language around not suspending Medicaid for those incarcerated for 30 days or less. New language includes that a person’s incarceration status does not affect the person’s enrollment in medical assistance and that a person not enrolled in medical assistance at the time of incarceration will have the ability to apply for medical assistance.

The next public hearing is on Thursday, March 11th, at 1:30pm. 

RFPU – NW encourages our members to show support for this bill. There are three very easy ways to do so, by (in order of ease to do):

  • signing in PRO for the legislative record (anytime up until 1:30pm on 3/11)
  • submitting a comment (anytime up until 1:30pm on 3/11)
  • testifying live (registration by 1:30pm on 3/10)

All you have to do is:

  • Go to the Committee Sign In page
  • Choose Committee: Human Services, Reentry, and Rehab
  • Choose Meetings: 3/11/21 at 1:30pm
  • Choose: SHB 1348 Incarcerated persons/medical
  • Choose “written testimony,” “testify live,” or “position noted for the legislative record”
  • When registering, you may enter “Resident & Fellow Physician Union – Northwest” under organization affiliation because RFPU – NW has endorsed the bill. 
  • If you plan to testify live, please let us know!

RFPU – NW Endorses the Sawant Solidarity Campaign

Councilmember Sawant has been the most strong, reliable, and inspiring voice for working class and vulnerable people of Seattle. She was one of the first to show up and lend her support to RFPU-NW and exploited physicians in training from our earliest days, long before we had significant success, power or momentum. We are proud to have a Councilmember who so consistently fights for workers like us, and our patients.

As ordinary people face deep inequality, unaffordable housing and evictions, economic crisis, police violence, and climate crisis, we need her voice in Seattle City Hall now more than ever.

Endorsed on January 13, 2021

RFPU-NW Endorsements for 2020 Elections

This year, RFPU-NW will be making our first-ever endorsements of candidates seeking public office in Washington state.We were impressed by the following candidates’ commitments to the labor movement and to the rights of healthcare workers; they have our sole endorsement. We have the utmost confidence that these candidates will be allies and partners with our union, healthcare workers, and the labor movement at large in Olympia.

Read below to learn more about who we endorsed and why we encourage you to vote for these candidates in November.


We endorse Rep. Jesse Johnson for State House, 30th LD. Rep. Johnson understands the importance of a robust labor movement. Most importantly, he’s demonstrated that he’ll continue to address the issues that face healthcare workers like finding affordable housing & childcare.

We endorse Liz Berry for State House, 36th LD. Berry had been on the picket line supporting our fellow healthcare workers and we were impressed by how her policy platform prioritizes childcare solutions & gender equity. She will be a strong ally to organized Labor in the House.

We endorse Kirsten Harris-Talley for State House, 37th LD. Harris-Talley is committed to raising progressive revenue, to furthering racial justice, and to advancing stronger economic protections for healthcare workers and their families. We cannot wait to see her in office.

We endorse Sherae Lascelles for State House, 43rd LD. Many of our patients face profound barriers to care, and Lascelles works tirelessly to undo these inaccessibilities. Their lived experience and perspective is needed in the state legislature to fight for broad, systemic change.

We endorse Ingrid Anderson for State Senate, 5th LD. Herself a nurse, Ingrid Anderson has been a part of the labor movement for years. We know that she’ll continue to fight for her fellow healthcare workers, particularly as the state continues to navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

We endorse T’wina Nobles for State Senate, 28th LD. In her public service and work, Nobles has focused on education and economic empowerment for disenfranchised communities. We know she will be a strong advocate for working families all across Washington once elected.

We endorse Marko Liias for Lieutenant Governor. Sen. Liias has spent his time in office fighting for LGBTQ+ rights and expanding mass transit. He has clearly articulated who his key allies in the legislature would be as he continues to advocate for healthcare workers.

We endorse King County Prop. 1. Harborview serves not only as our region’s most critical public hospital, but also as the training facility for the future physicians of Washington. The future of healthcare in Washington depends on fully funding this critical community institution.⁣ We are all stronger when Harborview is, and we fully support the efforts of Prop 1 to make all voters aware of the great need for major investment in Harborview. ⁣

How we fight for racial justice

Sent to full membership via email on June 7, 2020

Thank you to each and every one of you who has shown up this week (in-person and from home) for Black Lives Matter.

We saw incredible showings of people at Friday’s Show of Support, hosted by NURF, and over 10,000 healthcare workers and allies showed up for the Doctors for Justice Rally yesterday morning. 

If you haven’t already, please review the Doctors for Justice demands.

Many of us are showing up to protest after working long shifts, bringing our children out with us, making phone calls to elected officials, and having conversations about how we need to change the culture and institution of medicine. 

If you have ideas for actions residents can take on an individual or system-wide level, let us know. We will support you. 

NEXT STEPS

As a labor union, racial justice intersects with everything we do. The language we use in our contract, the benefits we fight for that ensure that residency at UW isn’t only accessible to those from the most privileged backgrounds, and how we fight against racism and discrimination in our workplace and community.

We also feel strongly that being a leader means speaking out against the way that our city and university continue to uphold systems of oppression. 

In the last week, as an organization we endorsed:

We also encourage our members of color to sign the BIPOC Petition to remove the Seattle Police Officers Guild (police union) from MLK Labor

You can sign the above actions as an individual as well.
Decriminalize UW – individual
Defund SPD – individual
 A large portion of city (and university funding) goes towards policing our communities. Seattle budgeted $409 million on police this year, a quarter of the city’s general fund budget. As healthcare workers, we know that funding should be going towards health and education services in our community instead.

Units at our hospitals are being consolidated or closed entirely, and our state ranks one of the worst in the country for mental health care. Thousands of healthcare employees at UW and across this city have been furloughed during a pandemic. This is unacceptable. 

Remember, we all are UWHA – so if you see actions we can participate in, or demands you want us to advocate for – reach out and let us know how we can help amplify! You can do this by emailing us, posting in the UWHA slack, or tagging us on social media.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Learn more about where you’re living:

Educational Resources:

Donate to local Black led, Seattle-based organizations

UWHA March 5th Package Proposal

This morning we sent a letter to UW Medicine Leadership, including UW President Cauce, Dean Ramsey, Dr. Dellit, and Dr. Joyner regarding our latest contract packet proposal. This proposal was created in response to the negotiation session we had on Tuesday

In the interest of finishing negotiations at the soonest date possible, UWHA has conceded various proposals. Although we still find these requests important and fair (as they are status quo at our peer institutions), we hope these new requests are amenable to the employer and they meet us in finishing this process quickly.

Highlights include: 

  • Reducing the childcare fund ask to $250,000 per year
  • Accepting the employers definition of a “resident”
  • Reducing the relocation stipend to $1,000 and limiting to only incoming residents coming from outside of King County
  • Accepting the employers meal reimbursement amounts
  • Tentatively agreeing to the employers proposal on “Leave – Miscellaneous”
  • Removing the ability to be paid out for unused sick leave
  • Removing the procedure for discovering purpose for unused vacation leave
  • Reducing base salary of R1 to $62,000 (respectively for R2-R9)
  • Reducing ask for housing stipend to $13,000 per year, and accepting flat rate between contract years
  • Reducing travel stipend ask to $750
  • Drop language to expand bargaining unit 

Please see the package proposal for full details.