PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — More than 1,300 employees at two Southwest Washington PeaceHealth facilities have voted to authorize a strike.
After announcing the strike vote in late September, the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals announced the vote results on Monday morning.
From Oct. 2 to Oct. 6, the healthcare union said 95% of voting members approved the strike authorization. The strike would include service, maintenance, and tech employees at PeaceHealth Southwest in Vancouver, along with lab professionals at PeaceHealth St. John in Longview.
With the vote, the union’s bargaining team can now file a 10-day strike notice at any point.
According to OFNHP President Jonathon Baker, the strike would be a last-resort measure to guarantee that healthcare workers receive what they call proper patient care, staffing, and wages that they’ve been bargaining for.
In some cases, the union reported that technicians have asked for a 40% wage increase over three years — “simply to make them competitive in the region.”
“We have given management ample opportunity to negotiate over these critical issues, yet they have delayed, underwhelmingly responded to the crisis we’re in, and made insulting offers,” Baker said in a statement. “We’re fighting to improve healthcare access and protect the communities our members serve; we won’t settle until we accomplish exactly that.”
About 350 tech workers at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart in Eugene have also begun negotiations, but they have yet to launch a strike authorization vote.
If the Eugene employees vote to authorize a strike as well, it could be one of the region’s largest healthcare strikes that didn’t involve registered nurses in recent years.
According to the union, technicians at the St. Charles Medical Center in Bend launched a strike over similar issues in 2021.
The impacted PeaceHealth workers will hold an informational picket at the Vancouver facility on Wednesday, Oct. 11 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
KOIN 6 has reached out to PeaceHealth for a statement.