At PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, 904 service and maintenance workers will vote Dec. 14 and 15 on which of two unions they want to be represented by: an affiliate of American Federation of Teachers (AFT) or an affiliate of Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The vote follows a Nov. 22 union election in which AFT got 297 votes, SEIU got 176, and 171 workers voted to remain non-union. None of those three choices had an outright majority, so the National Labor Relations Board organized the Dec. 14-15 vote as a runoff election.
The prospective bargaining unit is made up of 47 classifications of employees, including certified nursing assistants, food service workers, and laundry workers.
Both AFT and SEIU represent other workers in the PeaceHealth hospital network:
- A group of 310 licensed hospital technicians at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center voted to join AFT on June 2, and are attempting to negotiate a first union contract with the hospital. Nurses at the hospital are represented by another AFT affiliate, Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA).
- Meanwhile, SEIU represents 1,082 service and maintenance workers at PeaceHealth hospitals in Springfield and Eugene, Oregon; the unit ratified its first-ever union contract April 25. SEIU 1199 NW also represents 900 workers at PeaceHealth’s St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, Washington; and another 700 at PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center in Longview, Washington.
If the 900 PeaceHealth Southwest workers vote to join AFT, they’ll become members of PeaceHealth Southwest Caregivers United, a sublocal of Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (OFNHP), also known as AFT Local 5017. If they go with SEIU, they’ll be members of SEIU Healthcare, A Project of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and SEIU Local 49.