Opinion: Listen: Two medical residents debate their hospital’s unionization drive

In training to become a physician, medical residency can be a grueling period. Residents and other trainees work long hours for little pay and don’t have much power within each hospital or institution. As with many other parts of life, the pandemic exacerbated and highlighted these problems.

Now, medical residents across the country have begun fighting to unionize their ranks. In Boston, residents at Massachusetts General Brigham — a major medical system — recently garnered enough votes to file for a union election.

In her first episode as host of the “First Opinion Podcast,” editor Torie Bosch speaks to two MGB residents with differing opinions on the best next step forward for their cohort.


“MGB has made remarkable strides, and we are now going to be the most compensated residents in the country. … So my idea is to say, look, this has been progress. Why don’t we see where this progress goes?” David Bernstein asked.

Minali Nigam responded: “I don’t think what MGB has done so far really addresses the capacity issues, and how a lot of times we’re just overburdened with how many patients we’re seeing. And I don’t necessarily feel like I’ve been able to provide like the best patient care because of it.”


Days after the podcast recording, leaders at Massachusetts General Brigham, union leaders, and the National Labor Relations Board finalized the date for the election to move forward. Trainees will have the opportunity to vote for or against a union between May 31 and June 7.

Our conversation stems from each of their First Opinion essays about the unionization drive: “I’m a medical resident. Here’s why I think my hospital should unionize from Nigam and “I’m a medical resident. I want to pause the drive to unionize hospital trainees” from Bernstein.

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Source: STAT