Technical professionals at St. Charles in Bend voted Thursday to unionize, joining the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals.
According to a statement from OFNHP Communications Organizer Megan Hise, the vote conducted by the National Labor Relations Board culminated months of coworker to coworker conversations about joining together in union.
“It was a decisive victory, in which the techs voted 90 to 34 in favor of organizing with OFNHP, a union of healthcare workers affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers. Nurses at the hospital unionized in 1994; they are represented by the Oregon Nurses Association, also an AFT affiliate,” Hise said.
The newly-organized group of 160 workers includes technologists working in surgical services, imaging, and respiratory care, among other departments.
“I am organizing because I see a critical need for technologists to have a voice,” says veteran ultrasound tech, Dee Dee Schumacher. “I want to ensure that technologists following in my footsteps can stay as passionate and dedicated as I have been in my career. I look forward to working collaboratively with St. Charles to ensure this happens.”
St. Charles techs want to address several concerns in negotiations, including short-staffing, scheduling problems, and keeping up with the skyrocketing cost of living in the Bend area.
“OFNHP is excited to welcome St. Charles caregivers to our movement for quality care and good jobs,” says OFNHP President Adrienne Enghouse. “When healthcare workers have a voice at work through our union, we have more power to advocate for what our patients and our families need.”