Group files to unionize service caregivers

Most Peace Harbor employees included except doctors, nurses

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has filed a petition to represent service caregivers at PeaceHealth Peace Harbor Medical Center and PeaceHealth Medical Group clinics.

According to the SEIU filing, the union wants to represent: “All full-time, regular part-time, on-call and per diem service employees, business office clerical employees and guards in the following classifications employed by the employer at PeaceHealth Peace Harbor Medical Center.”

This includes Peace Harbor Lab, Home Health and Hospice, Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Clinic, the Family Medicine Clinic, General Surgery Clinic, Internal Medicine/Walk-In Clinic, Anticoagulation & Diabetic Ed Clinic and Women’s Health/OB/GYN clinic.

“We fully respect the right of our caregivers to be represented by a union,” said Marie Stehmer, senior director of human resources for PeaceHealth Oregon. “Ultimately, though, we prefer to maintain a direct relationship with all our caregivers and strive for honest, balanced relationships.”

Stehmer also pointed out that unions have no power to grant promises and can only obtain what is agreed upon through negotiations with PeaceHealth.

“If the union promises something, ask them to put it in writing,” Stehmer cautioned.

Blake Hausmann, Director of Human Resources for PeaceHealth, added that if a union is voted in, there are no guarantees in collective bargaining. Wages and benefits could stay the same, go up or even go down, and that there is no time limit for the length of the negotiation process.

“While unions cannot guarantee their promises, they can guarantee that you will pay dues,” said Hausmann. “Unions are businesses. They need money from caregivers they represent to run their businesses.”

SEIU did not return calls for comment.

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