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NYC Public Hospital Residents Get Pay Parity Under New Deal

In a near-unanimous vote, resident physicians with the Committee of Interns and Residents union voted to ratify the contract with New York City Health + Hospitals.

After a year of negotiating with the city, over 2,400 NYC Health + Hospital residents and fellows represented by the Committee of Interns and Residents union ratified a new six-year contract on June 5. The deal gives them significant pay increases, putting them closer to the median salary range at other private hospitals in the city.

“It was a good compromise and we achieved pay parity,” said Dr. Nicholas Frazzette, a first year resident at Bellevue Hospital. “We’re not the lowest paid safety net hospital residents, we’re not the highest paid either. We’re happy to have met in the middle.” 

The new agreement increases pay for first-year doctors by 22.6% over the life of the contract, which starts retroactively on December 16, 2021 and ends on June 15, 2027. Before ratification, a postgraduate, first year resident made $66,247 working 60-80 hours a week, making them some of the lowest paid residents in the city

Protestors at Woodhull
Committee of Interns and Residents union protestors outside of Woodhull hospital. Photo Supplied/ Committee of Interns and Residents Union

Now, first year H+H residents make $76,389, an amount comparable amongst their peers. Resident pay will increase by 3% to 3.25% each year in concert with the pay raise pattern employed for all other city employees.  

For Dr. Shane Solger, a postgraduate fourth year resident at Kings County Hospital, he was happy that his colleagues in their first through third years of residency were finally getting an equitable salary. 

"I think that's what's most important," he said. 

The city also agreed to add more than $80,000 to the patient care trust fund each year. The fund allows residents to better provide care for their patients through providing necessary hospital equipment, purchasing education materials and funding research projects, among other things.  

Additionally, residents will receive ratification bonuses of up to $6,000 on top of increased annual contributions to the meal payment plan, on-call fund and combined reimbursement fund.

The contract victory did not come without strife. CIR had been negotiating with the Office of Labor Relations since May 23, 2023. 

“In the beginning, it was very slow and the city was dragging its feet,” said Dr. Sandeep Sasidharan, a fifth year resident at Kings County Hospital and member of the bargaining committee. “We felt like they weren’t hearing our plight and how desperate the situation was on the ground for residents.”

They hosted unity breaks outside H+H hospitals, protested outside of Gracie Mansion, filed dozens of grievances, sent letters to the various H+H CEOs and went directly to their offices to voice their frustrations.

In one case, residents who waited outside of Kings County Hospital CEO Sheldon McLeod’s office after requesting discussions on pay raises had the police called on them by the hospital, according to Dr. Salma Sadaf, a second year resident at Kings County Hospital. 

Residents went in front of community boards to share their stories, gave testimonials in front of the City Council and even commissioned a truck with the mayor’s face on it, chastising the city’s lack of movement on a fair contract.  

CIR truck with Eric Adams' face on it
CIR commissioned a truck with Eric Adams' face, in an attempt to shame the city for its failure to agree to a fair contract with NYC Health + Hospitals residents. Photo Supplied/ Committee of Interns and Residents Union

“We had to leverage so much outside from our barely-there-time to go out and do these actions and it could’ve been agreed upon almost a year ago,” said Sadaf. “The bargaining process was so disappointing for all of the residents.”

When a tentative deal was made with the City on May 28, Office of Labor Relations Commissioner Renee Campion said through a statement that the new contract will help NYC Health + Hospitals remain competitive in recruiting and retaining quality residents.