On December 5th, the Technical employees at the Tualatin hospital Legacy Meridian Park voted by 62% to unionize. These healthcare professionals have joined the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (OFNHP), a local affiliate of the 1.7 million American Federation of Teachers, Nurses and Health Professionals (AFT). This unionization vote follows the physicians at Meridian Park, who themselves recently unionized with AFT.
"We are excited for these Techs to organize with our union so that we can together advocate for the same things our members at Kaiser, PeaceHealth, and other healthcare systems in our union are fighting for, especially safe staffing and living wages,” says OFNHP President Jonathon Baker. “These workers came to the same conclusion that thousands of workers across the U.S. have recently come to, that the only thing that defends our professions and the future of patient care is the collective power a union voice can provide.”
These workers, which include highly skilled positions such as Ultrasound Technologists and Respiratory Therapists, report that issues like critically low staffing levels and a lack of a voice on the job were determining factors in voting to unionize. They also noted that Meridian Park is being sold to Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) in a massive acquisition. Being unionized will help to ensure their voice is heard during the transition. Now that these workers have successfully won their union, they will start bargaining their first union contract, which will lock in their wages, benefits, and working conditions for the duration of their first contract’s term.
OFNHP recently won historic raises and contract victories across the PeaceHealth system in Oregon and Southwest Washington, which was preceded by a multi-month campaign and a five-day Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike. They joined the wave of strikes that characterized 2023, with similarly landmark union actions from United Auto Workers (UAW), SAG-AFTRA, and the local Portland Association of Teachers (PAT). OFNHP will begin negotiating their next union contract at St. Charles in Bend, Oregon in February, where techs voted to strike for nine days to win their first contract in 2021.