Why doctors and pharmacists are in revolt

Dr. John Wust is not often seen as a labor agitator; his background and career path speak otherwise. Wust worked as a partner in a small medical practice for the first 15 years of his career before joining Allina Health in 2009. Initially, Wust did not consider himself the type of employee who might benefit from collective bargaining. However, his outlook changed as the doctors he worked with struggled with unsustainable workloads and less input at the hospital. Subsequently, they voted to unionize. Following suit, a group of approximately 400 primary-care physicians employed by Allina hospitals voted to unionize as well. These unionization efforts were some of the largest undertaken by private-sector doctors. Additionally, other Health professionals, from nurses to pharmacists, have been unionizing or protesting in greater numbers due to staffing shortages, exhaustion, and increased workload, even post-pandemic. Large Health care companies’ consolidation and big bureaucracies have left workers feeling powerless, triggering a growing worker consciousness.

Wust and his colleagues’ stories are examples of the change in management-labor relationships. Early in his career, Wust enjoyed working in a small, independent environment, where everyone’s concerns were considered. However, over time, the rise of larger Health care corporations and industry consolidation limited workers’ influence within the companies. A similar experience was reported by pharmacy intern and pharmacist Dr. Ed Smith, who once found his pharmacy well-staffed and closely managed. Smith shared that as the industry changed and companies made acquisitions, workers’ influence greatly diminished. Pharmacists, as well as doctors and nurses, reported being held to increasingly strict performance metrics.

While CVS and Walgreens claimed these measurements were vital to ensure safety and efficiency for patients, the heightened emphasis placed on these indicators created feelings of helplessness and frustration among workers. For example, pharmacists reported receiving warnings and phone calls for going over labor budgets, even if their actions were intended to benefit the customers. Similarly, doctors experienced a loss of professional judgment to corporate structures and the strict management of patients’ care. Dr. Alia Sharif, an Allina colleague of Wust’s and an active participant in the union campaign, likened their treatment to that of factory workers.

The trend towards increasing employee dissatisfaction and the rise of unions in Health care reflect changing work environments in various industries. This growing worker consciousness is a significant departure from the traditional employer-employee relationship. With the transition of Health care workers into larger bureaucratic structures, they are increasingly feeling powerless and disempowered in their roles. Derived from these experiences, large Health care companies like CVS and Walgreens are reconsidering some of their labor practices and investing in retaining employees.

Join Our Social Group For Latest News Updates

WhatsApp Group

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *