NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A union representing about 660 resident physicians is organizing a car caravan across Rutgers' campus to bring attention to its demands for additional personal protection equipment.
The union is also seeking a response to a petition delivered last month to the university requesting adequate working protections for doctors and hazard pay for front-line employees.
According to its website, the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR) is the largest house staff union in the United States. It is a local of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), representing over 17,000 resident physicians and fellows.
The CIR-SEIU protest will start at the Sears parking lot on Route 1 in New Brunswick at noon on Saturday.
According to a press release from the CIR-SEIU, Rutgers has not replied to a petition signed by resident physicians and submitted April 9.
Hospitals such as RWJBarnabas, University Hospital in Newark, Hackensack University Medical Center and several New York City hospitals are providing hazard pay to their staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the press release.
“We deserve what other residents are receiving," CIR New Jersey Regional Vice-President Georgia Davies said. "In New York and New Jersey, doctors are getting $1,000 to $2,500 in additional compensation for their work during COVID-19. Rutgers can match that.”
According to the press release, "Residents have sacrificed their health and well-being in the face of the pandemic, already working up to 80-hour weeks with limited sick leave and vacation time even in normal circumstances. Under the strain of the pandemic, not only have the usual day-to-day issues of training been exacerbated, but residents have put their lives at risk while providing direct patient care for COVID-19 patients."
A spokesperson for Rutgers declined to provide a comment to TAPinto New Brunswick.
On April 25, a caravan of about 70 cars streamed past Rutgers President Robert Barchi’s home on the Busch Campus in a processional protest organized by university union leaders.
The protestors said they had formed a coalition of unions to stand against, among other issues, Rutgers' plans to trim part-time lecturers. During the rally, some protestors spoke about Rutgers-related front line workers not receiving personal protection equipment.