PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Nurses Association announced that doctors at six Legacy Health hospitals in Oregon and Washington “overwhelmingly” voted to unionize this week.

According to the ONA, they are unionizing “to improve local health care and ensure frontline providers have a voice in the decisions that impact their patients’ care, communities’ health and hospital working conditions.” These are the latest frontline healthcare workers to join what is referred to as Oregon’s “white coat labor movement.”

“We’re caring for more people who are sicker than ever before. We need more staff to give our patients the time and attention they need,” said Eric Seymour, a pediatrician at Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland. “Hospital administrators aren’t at the bedside to see the problems and aren’t listening to providers’ solutions. We voted to unionize so the people caring for you can advocate for you and your family. We need a seat at the table to ensure we have the staff, tools, and support we need to properly care for our patients.”

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) oversaw the vote and certified the results Friday. The nearly 200 hospital doctors (known as hospitalists) will now join the Pacific Northwest Hospital Medicine Association (PNWHMA), which is staffed by the ONA.

This will become one of the largest hospitalist union groups in the country, as the ONA has nearly 700 union nurses and mental and behavioral health professionals already in the Legacy Health system.

The new union Legacy hospitalists work at:

  • Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center in Portland, OR
  • Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, OR
  • Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, OR
  • Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center in Tualatin, OR
  • Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center in Gresham, OR
  • Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center in Vancouver, WA

“The hospital works best when physicians have a strong voice and Legacy truly needs our help running the hospital and fixing our many systemic issues,” said Dr. Rob Morgan, an internal medicine doctor at Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center and Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland. “We got into medicine to help people, but we can’t help anyone if we’re not healthy ourselves. Through our union, I hope we can build back a strong long-term relationship with hospital leadership that prioritizes our wellbeing and necessary resources for providing safe, sustainable, high-quality patient care now and in the future.”