Construction of the new Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro has been a shot in the arm to union workers in the Portland metro area.
During a topping out celebration last March, Kaiser Permanente Regional President Andy McCulloch called it “our own little stimulus project here to help the economy.”
As of Labor Day, the Medical Center is two-thirds complete — ahead of schedule and under budget. Since breaking ground in June 2009, union members have logged over 818,154 hours of work. That equates to roughly $43 million in wages to local workers — money that ripples out into Portland’s economy. When completed in 2013, the $344 million project will have generated over 2,000 construction jobs, and will create 1,000 new permanent, family wage jobs.
The project currently has approximately 550 construction workers on site each day.
“The union labor forces collectively bring professionalism and strong sense of pride to their work, helping us build at the highest quality level,” said Travis Baker, project director for general contractor Andersen Construction.
“As a part of our strong commitment to organized labor, we require every on-site worker at any of our construction projects to be a union member,” said Kaiser Permanente Project Manager Matthew Miller.
Many of Kaiser Permanente’s regular employees are union members, too, represented by a variety of unions, including Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, the Oregon Nurses Association, Service Employees International Union, United Food and Commercial Workers, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
The Medical Center will open with 126 beds, but has room to grow to up to 240 beds. The hospital will offer emergency, general medical, maternity, and surgical care.