Nurses At Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center Vote To Unionize With ONA
Gresham, Ore – A supermajority of nurses at Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center in Gresham voted to unionize with the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) in an election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on April 5-6.
The 360 nurses at Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center will now have more power to protect their community’s access to safe, high-quality health care by joining ONA. They will also restore respect for frontline workers in the Legacy Health System and gain a voice in decisions which impact their community’s health and welfare.
“As nurses, our community counts on us to deliver and advocate for the safest, highest-quality care. Unionizing gives us the voice at the table that we deserve as professionals. We look forward to working collaboratively for safer staffing and sound clinical reasoning in decisions that affect our workplace and patients,” said Aster Wolfe, a ICU nurse at Legacy Mount Hood.
ONA represents more than 16,000 frontline nurses and health care workers in Oregon including registered nurses at three Legacy Health hospitals – Legacy Silverton Medical Center, Legacy’s Unity Center for Behavioral Health in Portland, and Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center in Gresham.
The nurses at Legacy Mount Hood are also leading the campaign to save the hospital’s Family Birth Center. In March, Legacy attempted to close the center with little warning – sparking near-universal opposition from local nurses, doctors, patients, elected leaders, and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). State health officials ultimately denied Legacy’s application to shut down the center – saying Legacy’s decision to close the family birth center did not meet the needs of patients or community members and expressing serious concerns about patient safety.
Nurses and other health care providers at Legacy Mount Hood serve approximately 275,000 people in East Multnomah and Clackamas Counties including diverse, fast-growing, and historically underserved communities. The family birth center is the only hospital birthplace option in Oregon’s 4th largest city and the closest option for families in East Multnomah County all the way up to Government Camp. It serves more women seeking urgent obstetrical care than any other facility in the Legacy Health System.
Following their union vote, nurses will now move to bargain a first contract with Legacy executives that strengthens local decision-making in health care, improves community safety, and restores respect for frontline nurses and health care professionals.
“Being part of a union of nurses feels more than right. In this moment, it feels necessary in the face of corporate greed and the ‘profit over patients’ business model that has become health care in America,” said Bee Edwards, an emergency department nurse at Legacy Mount Hood.
Legacy Health is a multi-billion dollar private health system which operates six hospitals and more than 70 clinics in Oregon and Washington. While many companies posted losses during the pandemic, Legacy profited. It made more than $400 million in profits from 2020-2022 including nearly $100 million in taxpayer bailouts via the CARES Act. Prior to the pandemic, Legacy’s hospital profits averaged between $44 million to $79 million per year from 2007-2019. Legacy also holds more than $1 billion in its investment portfolio.