Frequently Asked Questions

What is Doctor's Council? How do we fit in?

Doctor's Council works with SEIU, the largest and fastest growing healthcare workers union in North America, comprising over 2.1 million members. Their affiliation began with the representation of a group of physicians employed by the Departments of Health in NYC. Today it negotiates on behalf of all attending physicians employed by New York City and the Health and Hospitals Corporation. Doctor's Council has expanded from the state of New York to Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where it represents physicians employed by academic medical schools, hospitals, professional corporations, and national corporations. SEIU is also affiliated with the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR), representing more than 22,000 interns, residents, and fellows in California, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Washington, D.C.

Why have we chosen Doctor's Council?

Through Doctor's Council, there is a significant field staff locally available to help with organizing. They also provide education and logistical support to help manage the finances, tax law, and mobilization efforts.

How much are dues?

Dues cost $45 per paycheck for employees. This pays for logistical support, and no dues are paid until a collective bargaining agreement (contract) is ratified/agreed upon. Dues do not change unless the members of Doctor's Council agree on it.

A hospital-wide union would consist of many different departments. How could one contract address everyone's needs?

Our collective bargaining agreement will be made with the goal that no department is left behind. The goal of each contract and its future iterations will be to ensure that all physicians receive the same base level of benefits. It will not prevent additional ones, thus serving as a "floor" and not a "ceiling." Additionally, we will ensure that every department is appropriately represented. Before we begin collective bargaining, we will hold meetings, send out surveys, and meet with staff from every department to guarantee that all concerns are heard and represented fairly in contract negotiations.

Many doctor's union chapters have bargained for department-specific benefits; nothing is off the table!

What if I am on a VISA?

You have the right to join with coworkers to improve working conditions. You have this right regardless of immigration status. To learn more, please read more.

If you believe your employer has interfered with, restrained, or coerced you or your coworkers in your decision to form or join a union, you may contact the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) by telephone at 1-844-762-6572 or at

Will larger departments disproportionately represent the union in the bargaining committee?

Our intention is for every department to be heard regardless of size, and to support and amplify the voice and concerns of smaller departments. This is a union of individual physicians, and everyone's voice will be heard. We are stronger together!

Are unions inherently adversarial?

Our union seeks to collaborate and engage positively with the hospital to improve patient care.

Do I have to be a part of the union?

By law, if the majority of your partners vote in favor, you become part of the union.

Can my current contract get worse?

Our goal is that your current contract remains in effect, and we will work to improve on it. If you like the terms of your current contract, we will ensure that they will be there for years to come, and in addition with collective bargaining from multiple departments, we can come up with ideas to improve our working conditions even further with your input.

What about protecting against the rise of corporatization and private equity in healthcare?

Our contracts don't change without our approval. Departments cannot be replaced by contract management groups without collective bargaining.

What if the union doesn't achieve our goals?

Under certain circumstances, you can vote out or "decertify" your union, or replace it with a different union. We are working to improve the system, and that may take time. There is a legal process to reverse our union if we do not achieve our goals.

What can a union do for my patients?

Through a union we can improve physician staffing, retention, and satisfaction. Our goal is to allow every physician to thrive professionally, and that means we will be able to take better care of our patients.

Could I lose my job for joining?

Workers are protected by law under the National Labor Relations Act to organize and unionize. ChristianaCare is legally prohibited from retaliation, and that includes taking away any benefits.

Without a union, ChristianaCare can change our working conditions at any time and without reason, however, with a union, we are empowered to make changes that benefit our interests and help us care for our patients.

See the NLRB policy for specific protections (Sections 7 and 8)

Will I be asked to go on strike?

Through collective bargaining, physicians can have a lot of leverage through other means that do not entail "going on strike." In the past, physicians have only ever initiated strikes over severe safety issues. Such endeavors are extremely rare and often of last resort. Individual members will never be forced to go on strike, and no union chapter can collectively go on strike without the supermajority approval of its members.

I'm interested - what next?

We've submitted our authorization cards with an overwhelming majority to the NLRB on May 14, 2024. The next step is for them to be processed by the government, and for an election date to be announced, which generally is set for 6-8 weeks later!