American Association of Doctors of Optometry Changes Name to Union of American Eye Care Providers

By

Craig S. Steinberg, OD, JD.

AGOURA HILLS, Calif.—The American Association of Doctors of Optometry (AADO) has been renamed the Union of American Eye Care Providers. Started during the summer of 2013, as reported by VMail, the AADO was formed because “independent optometrists can’t unionize because we don’t have a common employer,” according to founding executive director Craig S. Steinberg, OD, JD.

According to a statement from the organization, “the new name better conveys what the organization is and what it is doing, makes clear that the issues of third party control extend beyond just optometry, impacting all providers of eyecare, and also helps providers understand that the organization is quite distinct from the AOA and does not conflict or compete with the vital role the AOA plays in representing the profession of optometry.”

“We are also watching closely how the Northwestern University football player case proceeds. If the decision allowing them to unionize is upheld, we want to be prepared to argue that, like the players being found to be employees of the university, eyecare providers are de facto employees of vision care plans by virtue of the excessive control the plans exercise over us,” said Steinberg.

“This will enable us to ask the National Labor Relations Board for the right to exercise the full panoply of union rights, including the rights to collectively bargain with third party plans for fair reimbursements on behalf of our members, and to engage in group boycotts against unfair treatment by the plans.”