OSU Wexner workers vote to unionize

Patient care associates and psychiatric care technicians at the Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center in Columbus have voted to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. 

Voting took place between Dec. 5 and Dec. 19, according to a union news release. Ballots were counted Jan. 3. 

IAM and the Ohio State University Nurses Organization, a local of the Ohio Nurses Association and an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, collaborated on the organizing effort, IAM said. Those who voted in favor of unionization seek workplace safety measures, increased staffing levels, and fair wages and benefits.

Lyndsee Cody, a PCA at Wexner Medical Center, said in the release: "Alongside my colleagues, we came together knowing that we deserve to be heard to have a better quality of life for ourselves and others surrounding us. Having a union at OSU will strengthen us as a team and as a whole alongside the nurses. I am looking forward to our future with the IAM."

Voting results must still be certified by the National Labor Relations Board. Meanwhile, the hospital is reviewing the results.

"Only 185 (17%) of the medical center's eligible patient care associates and psychiatric care technicians submitted ballots in the labor representation election, and only 167 of them chose union representation," Wexner Medical Center said in a statement shared with Becker's. "This is a uniquely low level of participation for our medical center. We are reviewing the results and will work with our colleagues on fair and mutually beneficial paths going forward."

According to the union, the voting process represented more than 950 workers. "Mail ballot elections traditionally have a lower voter turnout," IAM Lead Organizer Ali Rhodes said in a statement shared with Becker's. "In this case, 89% of the PCAs voted in favor of the IAM. TheOhio State Employment Relations Board administered the election process, and the results speak for the entire workforce. We look forward to securing a fair and equitable contract that provides the PCAs a voice in the workplace."

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