The technical employees at the Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles, Oregon have voted to approve their first union contract. Negotiations over this contract have lasted several months, after these frontline healthcare workers voted to join the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (OFNHP), Local 5017 of the 1.7 million member American Federation of Teachers, Nurses and Health Professionals (AFT). These workers voted to ratify this contract by an astounding 100%.
“We are excited that the techs will finally have a voice at Mid-Columbia Medical Center,” says Meggan Erland, an MRI Radiology Tech and a member of the bargaining team that negotiated this contract. “We know that when healthcare workers get a say we can improve care for the entire community, and we know that having a union ensures equity, safety, and justice for healthcare workers.”
This new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) will cover around seventy-five positions, and that number may increase as hiring progresses. These include positions like Respiratory Therapists, MRI Radiology Techs, Surgical Techs, Ultrasound Echo Sonographers, and other skilled positions that are essential for patient care. The new contract includes things like pay scales commensurate with experience, a grievance procedure for resolving workplace issues, and rules governing working conditions.
“We are proud to have the MCMC techs join our union and help us to build power across the state,” says Jonathon Baker, the President of OFNHP. “We are fighting for the same issues, like safe staffing, across all of our employers, and by joining our union these workers are making a powerful statement about the changes that are necessary in their worksite and across the region.”
OFNHP is working on an organization-wide campaign to confront short staffing, which is affecting all healthcare facilities in Oregon. Most recently, OFNHP leaders helped introduce House Bill 2697, which would set minimum safe staffing standards for Oregon hospitals. MCMC techs will be a part of OFNHP’s campaigns, supporting joint efforts to solve the issues most affecting healthcare workers and our patients.