PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Last April, emergency department physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners at Providence Medford all voted to unionize. Three months later, physicians at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center hope to follow suit.

A majority of the physicians at the Portland hospital recently signed union authorization cards to initiate an election set to begin July 10. If the majority of votes are in favor of unionization, Providence St. Vincent will be represented by the Pacific Northwest Hospital Medicine Association.

According to the Oregon Nurses Association, the voters include 74 Internal Medicine, Med-Peds, and OB hospitalists. Votes will be counted on Aug. 1.

Dr. Gabriel Hyder, MD, is a physician involved in the union effort. He said that “more and more physicians” are choosing to form unions.

“A physicians union can play a vital role in highlighting and rectifying systemic issues that compromise patient care,” Hyder said. “We can address challenges in maintaining a sustainable career and better advocate for our patients to foster a healthier and more productive healthcare system overall.”

The vote comes shortly after a five-day nurses’ strike from Providence Portland Medical Center, Providence Seaside Hospital and Providence Home Health & Hospice.

Dr. Jahnavi Chandrashekar, MD, said St. Vincent doctors are “resolved and united.”

 “Until now, we’ve had no real ability to negotiate, and our major concerns have often been brushed aside,” she said. “I’m looking forward to a future where our voice is heard as equal and we have a substantial say in policies that affect the lives of our patients and ourselves.” 

Stay with KOIN 6 as this story develops.