After Three-day Strike, Caregivers At Mckenzie-Willamette Settle Contract

(Springfield, Oregon) Caregivers at McKenzie Willamette Medical Center (MWMC), members of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 49 settled a two-year contract yesterday that addresses many of the caregivers concerns around quality patient care, provides worksite improvements, and provides caregivers with raises to keep up with the cost of living. 

In late October, over 300 caregivers went on a 72 – hour unfair labor practice strike. The strike had strong community support with members of the local faith community, fellow labor unions, community leaders and elected leaders like Senator Lee Beyer, Senator Floyd Prozanski, and Representative John Lively all coming out in big numbers to join workers on the picket line. Soon after the strike, management agreed to bargain again with caregivers on December 1st. Coming out of this bargaining session, the bargaining team reached a tentative agreement that was then voted on and approved by caregivers this past Thursday.

“Our recent strike sent a clear message that caregivers, our patients and our families deserve better. We know we still have work to do to address all of our concerns, but we came a considerable way from where we began with management.” Said Jen McCall a CT Technologist at MWMC and member of the bargaining team. “With this agreement we have guaranteed wage increases that allow us to plan for the immediate future and keep us focused on what’s important – providing quality care to our community.”

“We’ve seen the incredible support we have from our community in our efforts to continue providing the best care possible to our community and look forward to continuing to work together to make this hospital the best it can be,” said Vicki Baker a Pharmacy Tech at MWMC. In addition to the across the board raises, the recent contract includes important job protection language, and provides safe staffing improvements.

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SEIU Local 49 represents more than 10,000 health care and building service workers, including licensed practical nurses (LPN’s), nursing assistants, professional and technical workers, pharmacists, dietary aides, and housekeepers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. We are a member of Service Employees International Union, the nation’s largest union of health care workers.

For more information Jesse Stemmler at [email protected]

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