In Eugene, healthcare employees are gaining strength—and changing lives

 

In 2015, more than 1,000 employees at Eugene and Springfield’s PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center formed a union. Two years later, the union has grown to represent 1,300 people—and earned wage increases averaging 21% over three years for caregivers.

 
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Last September, the Register-Guard covered the growing labor movement among Lane County caregivers, noting that the organizing effort at Sacred Heart resulted in “the largest group of newly organized Oregon health care workers in nearly 20 years.”

The union is making a difference for healthcare employees like Lorie Quinn, an environmental service attendant and union executive board member.

“It’s really encouraging to be part of a bigger community where there’s more of us joining the union,” Quinn told the Register-Guard. “We have a stronger bond and more say in what’s going on in our community. With us getting our increase in wages, it helps our whole economy, it helps morale, and it helps our working conditions.”

Read the article to learn all about how unions like SEIU Local 49 are changing healthcare employees’ lives, and how workers are empowering themselves to provide better patient care.

Pip Sweikert