We started from a small group of doctors employed by the Departments of Health and Welfare of the City of New York to today being a union of thousands of attending physicians, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and veterinarians employed by various agencies, hospitals, and private health care facilities across different states.
Doctors employed by New York City began their organizing efforts in 1959. The Association of Department of Welfare Dentists was incorporated into the Doctors Association of the Department of Health in 1961. At that time, New York City paid per session doctors just $5.00 per hour and full-time doctors received only $7,000 per year.
Doctors Association immediately negotiated for its members a 36 percent wage increase, workers’ compensation coverage, sick leave and many other important benefits. While the Doctors Association bargained with the City for new benefits, public health officers employed by the Department of Health formed their own organization in 1965. The Public Health Physicians Association in its first six years almost doubled the salary scaled of its members.
In 1973, the Doctors Association and the Public Health Physicians Association consolidated their organizations into a single collective bargaining unit called Doctors Council. Immediately, Doctors Council began negotiating for all attending doctors employed by New York City and the Health and Hospitals Corporation. The first Doctors Council contract was signed in 1975 and included substantial salary increases that were retroactive to 1972. After the Doctors Association and the Public Health Physicians Association completed their merger in 1978, Doctors Council selected its first House of Delegates and officers, hired staff and established an office in midtown Manhattan.
In 1999, Doctors Council affiliated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). the largest and fastest growing healthcare workers’ union in North America, with over 2.1 million members.
Employed doctors have looked to Doctors Council to address and advocate on their issues. Doctors have organized and become members of Doctors Council in hospitals, clinics and FQHCs. This includes doctors employed by academic medical schools, hospitals, professional corporations and national corporations.
Doctors Council expanded from New York to Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. As more doctors look for an effective and real voice to successfully engage on workplace issues as well as advocacy, Doctors Council is seen as a professional organization that doctors can join and be active in.
Through our history and increased growth and influence, we have successfully fought against rash hospital closures and consolidations. We have worked to preserve services needed in traditionally underserved areas.
Doctors Council represents doctors in two of the largest public health care systems in the nation as well as in diverse practice settings.
With an ever-growing number of doctors in employment for medical systems large and small, endeavoring to heal, serve and advocate, we are mindful that our system truly is in need of reform.
We start from the belief, based on our own practical experience and academic research in numerous industries, that moving towards high quality, cost effectiveness and improved patient experience is best accomplished through and with the active participation and leadership of frontline caregivers, who have a unique vantage point to identify broken processes and systems, pinpoint causes, and work towards solutions.
Our organization affords frontline providers protection from the pushback that often comes from disrupting established hierarchies and interests invested in a dysfunctional status quo and provides with us with effective strategies and skills to better collaborate nurses and all the members of the patient care team.
In a system undergoing rapid change, doctors are looking for new forms of organization to be able to navigate a transforming change. We believe we can be one of those organizations. Join us!