A group of more than 600 doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center voted to form a union, according to a preliminary vote tally.

The tallied vote came in Thursday night as 628 voting for and 19 against. To win union certification, they needed just a simple majority of those who chose to vote.

Ari Goldstein, a third-year family medicine resident, called it an “emotional day” for the doctors at medical centers, adding that organizers put “countless hours” into the union effort. It’s the first unionization of residents and fellows in Maryland, according to a statement by the American Federation of Teachers Maryland, which will represent the doctors.

“We will continue to seek the advancement of patient care interests as we now have a true seat at the table,” Goldstein said. “We look forward to quickly coming to a contract agreement with UMMC so there is no distraction from residents and fellows doing what we do best: being an irreplaceable cog in the machinery of this hospital.”

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The group, called the University of Maryland Resident and Fellow Alliance, is composed of resident physicians and fellows at the hospital’s two campuses in Baltimore. It will be will be the first such organized group in Maryland.

They’ll join a wave of medical residents organizing across the country. Doctors in hospitals like those at George Washington University, Stanford Health Care and Montefiore Medical Center have all formed unions recently, according to Axios.

Medical residents and fellows are physicians who are still in various stages of training, but they’re degreed doctors. Residents typically have heavy workloads, including shifts that last for 24 hours or more.

There are about 900 resident physicians and fellows who work at UMMC’s two hospital campuses in addition to “nearly 1,200″ attending physicians who are also faculty at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, according to UMMC.

Organizers with the union in Baltimore have said it will fight for higher wages and improved benefits such as health care costs and retirement plan matching. They’ve also said it will allow residents to speak up for patient concerns and advocate when they see issues around the hospital.

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Hospital management said the university respects their decision and will bargain in good faith.

“UMMC is proud of the Graduate Medical Education program we run across our two campuses and of the talented and compassionate individuals who make up our Resident and Fellow Physicians,” Bert W. O’Malley, president and CEO of the medical center, said in a statement. “We will continue to make decisions that are in the best interest of their future success.”

Organizers said from the beginning they had a “super majority” of support within the potential union. As the election, which took place Wednesday and Thursday, got closer, the group garnered support from high-profile public officials, including Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and Zeke Cohen, a city council member and candidate for City Council president.

Kenya Campbell, president of AFT-Maryland, said the organizing committee worked diligently for years.

“Our state federation is excited to work with these brilliant medical minds to deliver great outcomes for workers that will only result in a better UMMC,” Campbell said. “Most importantly, better quality of care for the surrounding community that relies on residents and fellows to keep us healthy and safe.”