Service Employees International Union Local 49, one of the state's largest labor organizations, says that it has added 800 new members after a successful organizing drive at Providence Portland Medical Center in Northeast Portland.
Providence Portland is the city's third largest hospital, with 402 beds. (It's behind OHSU, with 578 beds, and Providence St. Vincent's: 508 beds.)
For several years, SEIU has been critical of Oregon's hospitals, most of which are non-profit. The union's position is that the hospitals have benefited enormously from Medicaid expansion, which slashed the amount of uncompensated care they provide. SEIU argues that the windfall has disproportionately gone to executive compensation, at the expense of patient care and line workers.
In its announcement of the results of the election, which was held in December but not decided until Feb. 22, SEIU noted that Dr. Rod Hochman, the CEO of Providence St. Joseph Health, Providence Portland's parent company, took home compensation of $10 million last year.
The newly organized Providence workers perform more than 60 functions at the hospital, including ER technicians, certified nursing assistants and housekeepers.
The successful election comes the year after the U.S. Supreme Court decided the Janus v. AFSCME case, which resulted in a finding that public employees whose jobs are unionized but who don't want to belong to the union no long have to pay dues.
That decision put pressure on SEIU's affiliate, SEIU Local 503, which represents public employees across Oregon. (SEIU 503 and the Freedom Foundation, an anti-union nonprofit disagree about the impact the Janus decision has had in Oregon.)
The organizing drive in Portland follows a similar effort at Providence Milwaukie last year, which added 200 workers there to Local 49.
"Providence caregivers have shown incredible commitment to making sure Providence reflects its core value of respect for the employees who work there, and forming their union is the first step in getting there," Meg Niemi, President of SEIU Local 49 said in a statement.