Workers at Asante Health facility may form union to highlight safety concerns

Over 1,000 workers wishing to set up their own Service Employees International Union chapter are expected to vote on possible unionization next week at a Medford, Ore.-based Asante Health facility amid what some claim are dangerous staffing levels.

Writing in the Lund Report May 30, Annette Higgins, who has worked at the Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center facility for 17 years as a nursing assistant, said life-saving chemotherapy treatments often cannot be administered in a timely fashion and a lack of worker resources means surgical equipment doesn't get sterilized in time.

"That's why more than one thousand CNAs, dietary specialists, EVS [environmental services], ed techs and other frontline health care workers decided to take matters into our own hands and form a new union at Rogue Regional," she wrote.

The workers are set to vote June 8 and June 9 to set up union representation to campaign for safer staffing ratios, affordable health insurance and more competitive pay, according to NBC affiliate KOBI-TV.

That vote is separate from another 270 Asante Health workers voting to possibly unionize through the Oregon Nurses Association at the same time, that report says.

Asante Health declined to comment for this article.

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