Today, Wednesday, October 11th, over 1,300 members of the PeaceHealth Tech, Service and Maintenance, and Lab Pro bargaining units will be picketing at both PeaceHealth Southwest and PeaceHealth St. John as they demand improved patient staffing, living wages, and a fair contract. Last week these workers voted by a rate of 95% to authorize a strike at both hospitals. Many of these healthcare workers, who are members of the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (OFNHP), AFT Local 5017, have been in negotiations over their next union contract for months. The workers say that management has refused to address short staffing and historically low wages in negotiations.
“Now that we have voted to authorize a strike at PeaceHealth Southwest and PeaceHealth St. John, we are inviting the community to walk the picket line with us and demand that PeaceHealth put patients and staff over profits,” says Jonathon Baker, the President of OFNHP and a Lab Professional at PeaceHealth St. John.
This picket will be joined by supporting organizations, such as Portland Jobs With Justice, the AFL-CIO, and other labor unions. These more than 1,300 workers have also been joined in negotiations by the Techs at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart in Eugene, who have not yet voted to authorize a strike at this point. The four total PeaceHealth bargaining units represent some of the most vital positions in our hospitals including Respiratory Therapists, Laboratory Scientists, Imaging Specialists, Patient Access Representatives, and Nursing Assistants. Now that a strike vote has been completed, members could call one at any point by filing a ten-day notice,after which, a strike would begin. These workers are continuing their negotiations with management, and the 350 additional workers at Sacred Heart will decide whether to hold their own strike authorization vote soon. This could result in a 1,700 worker strike across three hospitals and two states, making it among the largest non-RN strikes in the region’s recent history.
Every unit considering a strike argues that they are making far below market rate, and the Vancouver Techs are asking for as much as a 40% wage increase over three years simply to make them competitive in the region. OFNHP St. Charles Medical Center techs in Bend struck for 9 days over similar issues in 2021, and OFNHP members at Kaiser Permanente the same year approached what would have been among the largest healthcare strikes in American history.
Where: PeaceHealth Southwest (400 NE Mother Joseph Pl, Vancouver) and PeaceHealth St. John (1615 Delaware St, Longview).
When: Today (October 11th), 5:00pm - 8:00pm
Who: PeaceHealth Southwest’s Tech and Service and Maintenance bargaining units, and PeaceHealth St. John’s Lab Professionals unit.