‘Overworked and underpaid’: University at Buffalo resident doctors and fellows launch union campaign

Buffalo, NY — Medical residencies have always been known for long hours, grueling conditions and comparatively low pay as physicians-in-training gain crucial experience and find the specialty that is right for them.

But all across the country, resident physicians are starting to organize in an effort to improve their working conditions and boost patient care.

That movement has now come to Buffalo.

Resident doctors and fellows at the University at Buffalo, who staff hospitals across Western New York, filed a petition on Wednesday with the National Labor Relations Board to unionize with the Union of American Physicians & Dentists, which has more than 5,000 members. About 810 interns, residents and fellows are employed by University Medical Resident Services P.C., according to the filing, which came during the same week as the sixth annual “Thank a Resident/Fellow Week” at UB and its affiliated hospitals.

Dr. Stuart A. Bussey, president of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, said the campaign boils down to “too much work, not enough pay, not enough voice,” likening medical residencies to “almost like a hazing procedure” for their difficult working conditions and low wages.