At 6:30am on Monday, October 23rd, 1,300 PeaceHealth frontline healthcare workers are walking out for 5 days to protest the employer’s violations of federal labor law.
VANCOUVER, WA.— On Monday morning at 6:30am, over 1,300 healthcare workers from PeaceHealth Southwest and St. John are walking off the job and onto a picket line. These frontline healthcare workers, who are members of the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (OFNHP, AFT Local 5017, AFL-CIO), and in the Tech, Service and Maintenance, and Lab Professional units, have been fighting Unfair Labor Practices (ULPs) for months. After violating federal law, the employer again committed ULPs after the strike was announced including canceling bargaining sessions and refusing to bargain in good faith. Since OFNHP filed charges, they have offered replacement workers $8,000 per week to cross the picket line and threatened to cancel striking employees’ health insurance if the strike lasts into November.
“This strike was caused by management’s continual unwillingness to follow federal labor law. We are also fighting in bargaining for PeaceHealth to pay their workers living wages, fix short staffing, and address the issues that threaten the future of patient care,” says Jonathon Baker, OFNHP’s president and a Lab Professional at PeaceHealth St. John. “Instead of trying to solve these problems, they broke the law again by canceling our bargaining sessions in retaliation for exercising our legal rights and are choosing to terminate the healthcare insurance that these workers depend on. This is a cruel form of collective punishment directed at a group of healthcare workers they previously called ‘heroes’ when they were saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
These workers are joined in bargaining by 350 Techs at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart in Eugene, Oregon, who could choose to hold a strike authorization vote at any time. If they call for a strike, that could mean a total of 1,700 healthcare workers striking at three hospitals across two states.
The picket lines will begin at 6:30am and will run until 7:00pm daily through Friday, October 27th, at both PeaceHealth Southwest (400 NE Mother Joseph Pl, Vancouver) and PeaceHealth St. John (615 Delaware St, Longview). Workers will be prepared to return to work on Saturday, October 28th.
Healthcare workers will be available for interviews upon request and will be on-site starting on October 23rd.