UPDATE (Oct. 8, 2020) — Dozens of unionized physicians and healthcare providers represented by the Union of American Physicians and Dentist (UAPD) held an informational picket Thursday at the MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care clinic at Tacoma’s James Center. Dozens of physicians and their supporters expressed their concerns about MultiCare’s reluctance to place patient safety before profits and a hostile work environment that requires healthcare providers to work excessively long and fatiguing shifts, often without breaks. Doctors and healthcare workers are demanding an employment contract that benefits both protects patients and workers. UAPD members have been working without a contract for more than two years and during this time have suffered through furloughs and low staffing levels.
“We are determined in our struggle to maintain the safety of our patients. MultiCare has ignored our very existence and has reluctantly come to the negotiating table, hardly showing anything more than contempt towards us,” said Indigo Physician Amir Atabeygi, M.D. at the picket. “Even during a pandemic, they continue to ignore our concerns in favor of their corporate interests. MultiCare may continue to stall but we will not give up on our struggle to keep patients and providers happy, healthy and safe.”
Here are some scenes from Thursday’s picket (click to enlarge):
TACOMA (Oct. 7, 2020) — Physicians and providers represented by the Union of American of Physicians and Dentists (UAPD) will be joined by other members of the labor community at an informational picket for patient safety at MultiCare clinics, part of an ongoing march to a strike to draw public attention to the need for better safety policies that ensure the best possible care for the community. The picket will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday outside MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care, James Center, 1812 S. Mildred St. in Tacoma. (See the event flier.)
The physicians say MultiCare is putting patient safety at risk by demanding their urgent care providers work excessively long and fatiguing shifts, often without breaks. UAPD providers have brought these unsafe practices to MultiCare’s attention for more than two years. Now they are saying “enough is enough.” UAPD providers have overwhelmingly authorized a strike to fight for their safety, and the safety of their patients.
Despite their extensive training and knowledge of what constitutes safe Personal Protective Equipment and care, MultiCare has refused physician requests for N95 masks as providers test hundreds of COVID-19 patients each day. In fact, MultiCare does not provide N95 masks and the company bans providers from bringing their own. Physicians and providers have unionized with UAPD to combat MultiCare’s profit-driven fast-paced care and to restore the autonomy once held by their profession.
“Indigo providers are tired of working long shifts and not being able to go home after 12 hours,” said UAPD President Dr. Stuart Bussey. “UAPD’s bargaining team offered to bargain with MultiCare any day leading up to the action, as members prefer negotiations over pickets and strikes. MultiCare has yet to take the union up on this offer. After winning their union election over two years ago, physicians and providers continue the fight to provide the best and safest possible care to their patients.”
There are 22 MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care locations in the Puget Sound region plus five clinics in Spokane and the greater Inland Northwest.
Founded by a private practice physician in 1972, over the last forty years the Union of American Physicians and Dentists has grown into the largest union representing licensed doctors in the United States. In the State of Washington UAPD represents over 200 physicians, advanced nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Affiliated with AFSCME and the AFL-CIO, UAPD is proud to bring the strength of the labor movement to the aid of working doctors in the interest of better healthcare for all. www.UAPD.com