Today in Labor History: Medical interns win right to unionize

On this date in 1999, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that medical interns could unionize and negotiate both their wages and working hours. Another decision, made just prior by the California Public Employment Relations Board, further opened the way for unionization.

The NLRB decision was based on a dispute between interns and residents at Boston University’s medical education center. The decision recognized the interns as employees, not students, guaranteeing them all rights given to other workers.

Bruce Elwell, with the Committee of Interns and Residents, said at the time that the decision would affect about 50,000 interns in the private sector. The PERB decision affected about 3,300 doctors-in-training at University of California teaching institutions.

Photo via Madison Guy // CC 2.0.



Special to
Special to is a daily news website of, for and by the 99% and the direct descendant of the Daily Worker. Published by Long View Publishing Co., People’s World reports on the movements for jobs, peace, equality, democracy, civil rights and liberties, labor, immigrant, LGBT and women’s rights, protection of the environment, and more.