Medical Providers At Unity Health Care, D.C.’s Largest Community Health Center, Move To Unionize

Update: A majority of workers at Unity Health Care, D.C.’s largest federally-qualified health center, have voted to unionize.

The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the union, with 102 votes for and 17 against, according to a tally of the ballots released on Friday and shared with DCist/WAMU. The workers voted to join the Union of American Physicians and Dentists in the hopes that a collective bargaining agreement could ease their workload and improve patient care.

“It’s getting more and more commonplace where people are not being heard in their workplace,” says Stuart Bussey, president of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD), which Unity workers are looking to join. “It’s become an industry where the physician is becoming increasingly a pawn in the economic plans where profits are over patients.”

UAPD field organizer Rachel Flores says that the Unity medical professionals she’s talked to haven’t named compensation as a primary motivation for unionizing. Instead, she says what they hope to secure in a bargaining contract is more time for and support of their work with patients. They also believe a union will enable more discussion and transparency around changes to their workplace.