From WHYY: Citing ‘burnout,’ doctors with ChristianaCare file papers to form system’s first labor union

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By Cris Barrish

Two-thirds of the more than 400 doctors on staff at the health system’s major Delaware operations, including Christiana and Wilmington hospitals, would be covered.

Doctors employed by Delaware’s dominant medical system, ChristianaCare, have petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to vote on forming a union, WHYY News has learned.

Two-thirds of the more than 400 physicians who are on staff at the health care system’s main Delaware operations — Christiana and Wilmington hospitals, Helen F. Graham Cancer Center and the Middletown stand-alone emergency care center — signed cards seeking authorization to hold an election, union organizers said. The petition only required a 30% vote.

The union would be the first in the 136-year history of ChristianaCare, Delaware’s largest private employer.

Dr. Ragu Sanjeev, a ChristianaCare internist and leader in the unionization effort, told WHYY News in an exclusive interview that he and his colleagues are taking the unprecedented step because physicians have been overworked to the point that many have left ChristianaCare, and that administrators have not addressed concerns about understaffing coming out of the pandemic.

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