SAN DIEGO —
After being on the frontlines of the pandemic, UCSD resident physicians feel their current working conditions threaten their physical wellbeing.
On Wednesday afternoon, over 100 doctors and nurses attended a rally as a series of actions protesting hospital administration’s refusal to negotiate a fair contract. Several resident physicians spoke about their frustrations and personal experiences working for UCSD hospitals.
“Many residents have families. I am personally aware of residents that can’t afford to buy hospital cafeteria food and know another who is potentially facing eviction because they can’t afford to pay rent,” shared Sean Li, a sixth-year plastic surgery resident.
A resident is a medical school graduate and doctor in training. Today, they are asking for access to affordable food, enough sleep and a commitment from the hospital to their wellbeing. The resident physicians of UCSD, represented by the San Diego House Staff Association and the Committee of Interns and Residents, have been without a contract since July 1, 2021.
“These physicians are still on the frontlines of the COVID crisis. We work 80 to 100 hours a week without overtime pay. When you break down our salary by the hours we work, a first-time resident makes little more than minimum wage,” said Li.
In a prepared statement, the hospital said:
“UC San Diego Health adheres to all Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (AGCME) guidelines for appropriate work duty hours and requirements. UC San Diego Health prioritizes the safety and well-being of all its team members and has been a national leader in protecting its team members by offering CDC-approved PPE protocols and equipment. We are also among the first health systems in the nation to offer comprehensive COVID-19 testing and vaccination programs for all team members.
UC San Diego is in the process of contract negotiations with the union representing resident physicians and has offered a robust package that features substantial economic increases and non-economic commitments; among them: a 3-year contract with year-over-year pay increases, increased housing and education stipends, increased meal allowances and the creation of a Resident Physician Wellness Committee.”
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