Nurses at Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center in Gresham, Ore., voted to unionize with the Oregon Nurses Association. The two-day election held April 5-6 was overseen by the National Labor Relations Board.
With their vote, the 360 nurses at the medical center will have more power to protect their community’s access to safe, high-quality healthcare; restore respect for frontline workers in the Legacy Health System; and gain a voice in decisions that impact their community’s health and welfare.
“Being part of a union of nurses feels more than right. In this moment, it feels necessary in the face of corporate greed and the profit-over-patients business model that has become healthcare in America,” says Bee Edwards, an emergency department nurse at Legacy Mount Hood.
ONA nurses at Legacy Mount Hood are also leading the campaign to save the hospital’s family birth center. In March, Legacy attempted to close the center with little warning—sparking near-universal opposition from local nurses, doctors, patients, elected leaders and the Oregon Health Authority. State health officials ultimately denied Legacy’s application to shut down the center, saying Legacy’s decision to close the family birth center did not meet the needs of patients or community members, and expressing serious concerns about patient safety.
Nurses and other healthcare providers at Legacy Mount Hood serve approximately 275,000 people in East Multnomah and Clackamas counties, including diverse, fast-growing and historically underserved communities. The family birth center is the only hospital birthplace option in Oregon’s fourth-largest city and the closest option for families in East Multnomah County. It serves more women seeking urgent obstetrical care than any other facility in the Legacy Health System.
“As nurses, our community counts on us to deliver and advocate for the safest, highest-quality care. Unionizing gives us the voice at the table that we deserve as professionals. We look forward to working collaboratively for safer staffing and sound clinical reasoning in decisions that affect our workplace and patients,” says Aster Wolfe, an ICU nurse at Legacy Mount Hood.
Now the nurses will move to bargain a first contract with Legacy executives that strengthens local decision-making in healthcare, improves community safety, and restores respect for frontline nurses and health professionals.
[Adrienne Coles, ONA press release]