Attempt To Unionize Doctors Reconsidered

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ordered its Philadelphia office to grant a full hearing to a petition from United Food and Commercial Workers Local 56 that the union be allowed to represent southern New Jersey doctors who work for Amerihealth, a health-maintenance organization (HMO). An NLRB regional director in Philadelphia had dismissed the petition, ruling that the doctors are "de facto employees" of HMOs and not "independent contractors." The union's effort to represent doctors as independent employees under the National Labor Relations Act is seen by many as a way to give doctors more input into HMO cost-cutting decisions.

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