McKenzie-Willamette workers to strike, union says

SEIU Local 49 announced a three-day strike on Friday.

Posted: Aug 30, 2019 5:16 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Employees at the McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center in Springfield will take part in a three-day strike, SEIU Local 49 announced on Friday.

This comes after failed contract negotiations. The union said they wanted management to address inadequate staffing, the hospital’s low wages and unaffordable health care benefits.

RELATED: MCKENZIE-WILLAMETTE HOSPITAL WORKERS VOTE TO SUPPORT STRIKE

Krystle Green, a Certified Nursing Assistant, moved from Riverbend Hospital to work at McKenzie-Willamette because she said the community feel in the hospital is unmatched, but now she and 400 others are demanding the hospital reinvest in the community.

"When I was working at PeaceHealth, I was making upwards of $20 an hour," said Green. "Right now after being here for over a year I'm making $14.99."

Green and her brother Aaron are SEIU union members. They will join the hundreds who will be striking Sept. 10 to 12.

"We want to care about the patients and each other, not how much the shareholders are getting," said Aaron.

They said this is hard to do with the rate of turnover at the hospital due to issues in management.

"They're saying we're not worth keeping up with other hospitals or other local communities that pay more because they don't feel we're worth the money," Aaron said.

The last time McKenzie-Willamette went on strike was in October 2014. That strike also lasted 3 days.

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