At the Oregon Veterans Home in Lebanon, Oregon, a unit of about 200 workers unionized back in May 2019 in a 75-to-63 vote. But a year later, with no first union contract signed yet, some were ready to dump the union, and petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for a decertification election. On Sept. 15, those ballots were counted: By 59 to 34, workers voted to stick with the union.
USW District 12 subdistrict director Ron Rodgers says the union never stopped bargaining, and is pushing for wage increases. Workers there earn several dollars an hour less than their counterparts at a similar facility in The Dalles which is also USW-represented.
“I’m hoping this will be the catalyst to get them to move,” Rodgers said after the vote.
It’s been a rough year at the Oregon Veterans Home. The facility—a nursing home for veterans—was the site of a COVID-19 outbreak that infected at least 21 residents and staff members and led to the death of six residents in March and April.