Sacred Heart hospital employees vote to join union: 3 things to know

Caregivers at Springfield, Ore.-based Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend and Eugene, Ore.-based Sacred Heart Medical Center University District have voted to unionize, according to The Register-Guard.

The caregivers, which include certified nursing assistants, emergency room techs, ward clerks, people in admitting, kitchen staff and other employees, voted  524-367 to join SEIU Local 49, a union that represents more than 10,000 workers across Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Here are three things to know about the decision.

1. The caregivers have been organizing their union to address issues around chronic short-staffing, quality affordable care, fair wages and respect on the job, according to the union.

2. In a statement, Sacred Heart Human Resources Director Marie Stehmer expressed disappointment in the caregivers' decision to unionize, according to the report. She said Sacred Heart "prefer(s) to maintain a direct and unrestricted relationship regarding conditions of employment," but "acknowledge(s) and respect(s) the majority decision of those caregivers who voted this week."

3. The caregivers of Sacred Heart will next move to the bargaining table, where elected team members will negotiate with hospital management over important issues.

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