Washington State Hospitalists Set to Unionize — First physician union to earn joint-employer status

A group of hospitalists in Washington state is poised to become the first physician union to earn joint-employer status, sources told MedPage Today.

Some 30 clinicians — including 25 physicians and five nurse practitioners — working at two PeaceHealth facilities under a contract with Sound Physicians filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in March to unionize with the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD).

During a 3-day NLRB hearing in April, the group won the right to a mail-in vote with a June 11 deadline, and also won joint-employer status, according to Joe Crane, UAPD’s organizing coordinator.

“Many physicians are employed by these contract [management] groups. This opens them up to unionizing and being protected in ways that didn’t exist previously,” Crane said. “It’s a small group, but there are big ramifications.”