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260 Pros at PeaceHealth Southwest Win Union Election With OFNHP

On May 23rd, 260 healthcare workers in the professional bargaining unit at PeaceHealth Southwest successfully won their union election by a rate of 80% for Home Health and 65% for hospital-based. These workers joined 1,700 other PeaceHealth healthcare professionals in affiliating with the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (OFNHP), a local affiliate of the 1.7 million AFT Nurses and Health Professionals. These healthcare professionals’ overwhelming support for unionization came at the end of years of grassroots organizing, driven by issues like short staffing, uncompetitive wages, and a lack of a voice on the job.

“I am excited that we have come together as a unit to help improve PeaceHealth for both patients and staff,” says David Watson, a hospice social worker who is a part of the now unionized pro unit. “This means that we can fix our staffing problem by fighting for improvements that can attract and retain qualified staff, thus improving the future of patient care.”

These workers fill highly skilled positions requiring advanced degrees and licensure, and include physical therapists, pharmacists, chaplains, mental health professionals, and many other essential roles. Negotiations will begin soon with PeaceHealth management to secure the first union contract for this union, which will establish standards for things like wages, working conditions, and benefits. 

These workers are part of a recent wave of unionization with OFNHP, including 150 techs at Legacy Meridian Park and 435 Lab Pros working at Legacy Locations as part of the larger LabCorp system. Together, the victories have resulted in a 10% growth for OFNHP in the last thirty days. Last year, nearly 1,400 OFNHP members in the PeaceHealth system led a five-day strike to secure an historic contract. Next year OFNHP will negotiate one of the biggest union contracts of the decade with Kaiser Permanente as part of the 52,000 worker Alliance of Healthcare Unions.

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