Oregon's Providence Milwaukie Hospital reaches 1st contract with workers

Healthcare workers at Providence Milwaukie (Ore.) Hospital have reached their first union contract with hospital management, according to union and hospital statements. 

The agreement covers 170 workers, including housekeepers, dietary workers, certified nursing assistants, phlebotomists and patient admission representatives who are members of SEIU Local 49.

Under the three-year deal, union-represented workers will receive 2 percent raises the first year, and 1.5 percent in the second and third years of the agreement, the hospital said in a May 7 news release. The hospital said the agreement also includes a provision for performance-based merit increases and market adjustments to compensation.

The deal provides protection of benefits and access to affordable healthcare for workers, and gives them a strong voice in staffing and patient care, the union said in a May 10 news release.

Healthcare workers at Providence Milwaukie unionized in June 2018.

"I look forward to the recognition and respect our union deserves, along with rebuilding relationships that can now begin after three years of sitting at the bargaining table," Julie Schafer, bargaining team member and health unit coordinator, said in the news release. "I have high expectations that we can work with management and create an environment that supports the health and well-being of our patients, staff and community."

The hospital praised the agreement as an avenue to move forward together to serve patients, families and community. 

"We are grateful we now have an approved contract — and for all our caregivers do each day in service to our Providence mission," the hospital said May 7. Providence Milwaukie also said it was important that the contract added an element of choice for workers in terms of whether to unionize.

Providence Milwaukie is part of Renton, Wash.-based Providence, a 51-hospital health system serving people in Oregon, Washington, California, Montana, Texas and Alaska. SEIU Local 49 represents more than 15,000 healthcare and building service workers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. 

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