Monday workshop
Monday, March 25, 2024 - 3:30pm

392 Cohen Hall


"Labor Unrest in the Hospital: An Autopsy of Interns’ and Residents’ Strikes in New York City, 1970—1980"

This talk explores the influence of the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR), established in New York's municipal hospital system in 1957, on yoking the challenges faced by house staff and early career physicians with local communities’ experiences receiving poor treatment. With revisions to the Taft-Hartley Act allowing house staff at not-for-profit facilities to unionize, hospital unions emerged, broadening their focus from traditional grievances about pay and working hours to include concerns about patient care and working conditions. Furthermore, unions like CIR courageously confronted longstanding problems regarding segregated staffs and the stubborn lack of integration in city hospitals. The 1970s marked a pivotal decade for these unions as they wielded collective bargaining to remediate structural deficits within hospitals, particularly amidst the dismantling of safety-net facilities. Through an autopsy of strikes during this era, this talk explains how interns and residents targeted the political economy of hospitals by focusing on issues of space allocation, plant conditions, and its impact on patient care.