Caregivers at Sacred Heart Medical Make History; Vote to Join SEIU Local 49

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With their union, caregivers will work together for quality affordable care and to bring good jobs back to their community hospital.

Caregivers at Sacred Heart

We know that we now have a voice in the care we provide and a real way in which to make improvements that will positively impact us and our patients.

Caregivers at Peacehealth Sacred Heart Medical Centers voted on Thursday to form their union with SEIU Local 49, a union that represents more than 10,000 workers across Oregon and SW Washington including licensed practical nurses (LPN’s), nursing assistants, professional and technical workers, pharmacists, and dietary aides. The 1100 caregivers will now have a voice and a way to make improvements on the job. The end result of the vote was 524 ‘yes’ votes to 367 ‘no’ votes.

“The bottom line is that we organized our union for patient safety and quality care. We know that we now have a voice in the care we provide and a real way in which to make improvements that will positively impact us and our patients,” said Chris Tonry, Admitting, Sacred Heart Riverbend.

Caregivers at Sacred Heart have been organizing their union to address issues around chronic short-staffing, quality affordable care, fair wages and respect on the job. From the beginning, caregivers were supported by doctors and nurses who have also formed their own respective unions at Sacred Heart.

The election is a historic one – the largest healthcare election victory to take place in Oregon for close to two decades. With this election, a majority of caregivers who work at Sacred Heart are now union, including doctors and nurses of the hospital.

“We came together and just like the nurses and doctors of this hospital, we’ve voted yes to a union,” said Amanda Harp a Mental Health Tech at the hospital. “It is incredibly powerful to see so many across Sacred Heart coming together for one common goal, to make sure we’re putting patients and those who provide care here above the bottom line.”

The 1100 caregivers of Sacred Heart will next move to the bargaining table, where elected team members will negotiate with hospital management over important issues that matter, including: short-staffing, quality affordable healthcare, fair wages and respect on the job.

“It is incredibly powerful to see what caregivers can accomplish when they come together and know that they now have a strong voice in the care they provide. It is no secret that hospitals are making record profits at the expense of workers and patients. More and more caregivers are coming together to say enough is enough and to stand up to have a voice in the care they provide.” said Meg Niemi, President of SEIU Local 49.

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Jesse Stemmler
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