Springfield, OR – Hospital workers who are members of SEIU 49 gathered, marched, chanted, and spoke out on their first day of a 5-day strike. Hospital caregivers made the difficult decision to strike following a breakdown in discussions with management over patient and worker safety issues. Workers maintain that management remains far from resolving key priorities to settle a fair union contract that would provide market rate wages, healthcare workers can afford to use, and COVID protections like paid time off and recognition bonuses.
Since the first strike in October, workers also allege that management has engaged in more unfair labor practices, including preventing workers from exercising their rights. The members of SEIU Local 49 are working to settle a new union contract with management that includes safe staffing, fair wages, COVID protections, contained healthcare increases, and keeps good jobs at the hospital.
McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center is one of only two Oregon for-profit hospitals and is owned by Tennessee-based corporation Quorum Health Corp. Quorum Health Corp as a whole received over $100 million in CARES Act fundingi, with McKenzie-Willamette receiving nearly $4.7 million of these bailout funds. And McKenzie-Willamette recently received another $1 million in bailout funds from the American Relief Actii. Oregon Medical Group, a local Oregon physician group, are local partial owners at McKenzie-Willamette Medical Centeriii and they have remained silent in supporting the workers who have kept the hospital doors open through this pandemic, often at great risk to worker safety and the safety of worker families.
McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center workers will continue their strike through 7am, Saturday, December 11. These frontline workers remain united and strong in their message to McKenzie-Willamette management to “Respect Us, Protect Us, and Pay Us” and settle a fair contract now.
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SEIU Local 49 represents more than 15,000 healthcare and building service workers, including licensed practical nurses (LPN’s), certified nursing assistants, professional and technical workers, pharmacists, dietary aides, linen workers, and housekeepers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. We are a member of Service Employees International Union, the nation’s largest union of healthcare workers. For more information visit: www.seiu49.org