February 19, 2010 Volume 111 Number 4

Vote makes it final: Laurelhurst Village nursing home will be union

Workers at Southeast Portland's Laurelhurst Village nursing home reaffirmed their decision to unionize in a Feb. 17 election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In a unit of 144, the vote was 76 to 23 in favor of joining Service Employees International Union Local 503.

Parent company Farmington Centers had already agreed to recognize and bargain with Local 503 in November, after a majority of employees signed union authorization cards. But under a rule devised by the Bush-era NLRB, such card check certifications can be set aside in favor of a traditional workplace union election if 30 percent of the workers sign a petition requesting it.

Local 503 spokesperson Ed Hershey said having to run the union campaign a second time only made union supporters more determined. Farmington Centers honored its pledge to remain neutral during the campaign, Hershey said.

The two sides immediately returned to the bargaining table, where they are negotiating a first contract. 

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