Collective Bargaining, Work Stoppages, and Slowdowns

Revised October 2020

Reaffirmed April 2014, October 2008

Revised April 2002 with current title, replacing “Guidelines Concerning Work Stoppages and Slowdowns” (March 1997) and “Collective Bargaining” (October 2000)

Revised March 1997

Reaffirmed April 1992

Originally approved October 1984 titled “Guidelines Concerning Work Stoppages and Slowdowns”


The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) recognizes that situations may arise in which groups of individuals choose to withhold services, thereby affecting health care delivery. ACEP believes that emergency physicians should work for the continuous availability of emergency medical care if a work stoppage occurs.

ACEP believes emergency physicians functioning as employees may participate in collective bargaining units. Such units should only include physicians, as non-physicians may follow other ethical codes. Non- employee physicians may participate in collective bargaining units to the extent allowed by law.

Medical professionals who choose to use a work stoppage or collective bargaining should avoid using collective action that could delay or deny access to emergency care.

ACEP members should anticipate problems that may arise from a work stoppage or other collective bargaining activities by any health care personnel and seek cooperation of other health professionals to ensure the timely provision of emergency medical care under all conditions.

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