Peace Harbor Medical Center caregivers and employees narrowly voted to join the Service Employees Inter-national Union (SEIU) Wednesday, June 28.
Of the 185 Peace Harbor eligible employees, 78 voted “yes,” 72 voted “no” and 35 did not cast a vote to join SEIU Local 503, based in Salem.
According to PeaceHealth Oregon Strategic Communications and Engagement Director Marcy Marshall, the vote will not be official until certified by the National Labor Relations Bureau. That certification could take seven to 10 days, or more, from the date of the vote.
Marshall said once the vote is certified, first-time union contract negotiations could take up to 18 months from the date of certification.
“PeaceHealth appreciates the respectful manner in which our eligible caregivers considered this issue and one another’s point of view. The open, honest dialogue that accompanied this process is a true testament to our people and the culture we have created here,” Marshall said.
SEIU and its members are separate from the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) and its members who are currently in contract negotiations with Peace Harbor.
Marshall said, “Once the election is certified by the NLRB, we will honor our caregivers’ voice and continue our good faith bargaining relationship with the union.”
Between SEIU and ONA, Peace Harbor will be almost completely unionized.
Marshall said, “We do not anticipate a deviation from the high level of service currently provided to the community.”
ONA has been negotiating a new contract with Peace Harbor since December and, according to both sides, is close to a finalized contract.
The next federally mediated negotiation session is scheduled for July 12.
SEIU Local 503 did not respond to requests for comment by story deadline Friday.