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News Release
Legacy Doctors Celebrate Union Victory - 11/17/23

Nearly 200 Hospital Doctors in Oregon and Washington Join the White Coat Labor Movement.

(PORTLAND, Ore.) – Doctors at six Legacy Health hospitals in Oregon and Washington overwhelmingly voted to unionize this week. The hospital doctors, or hospitalists, are unionizing to improve local health care and ensure frontline providers have a voice in the decisions that impact their patients’ care, communities’ health and hospital working conditions. 

“We’re caring for more people who are sicker than ever before. We need more staff to give our patients the time and attention they need,” said Eric Seymour, a pediatric hospitalist at Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland. “Hospital administrators aren’t at the bedside to see the problems and aren’t listening to providers’ solutions. We voted to unionize so the people caring for you can advocate for you and your family. We need a seat at the table to ensure we have the staff, tools, and support we need to properly care for our patients.” 

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) oversaw Legacy hospitalists’ elections this week and certified the results Friday, Nov. 17. The new hospitalist group will join the Pacific Northwest Hospital Medicine Association (PNWHMA)—a physician and advanced practice provider union represented by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). The PNWHMA is staffed by the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA).  

Hospitalists at Legacy are the latest frontline health care workers to join Oregon’s white coat labor movement. Just this year, doctors and advanced practice providers have voted to unionize at Legacy hospitals, Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, Providence Women’s Clinics, Providence Home Health and Hospice, and Providence Medford Medical Center. Nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, registered nurses, social workers and genetic counselors at Legacy’s women’s health clinics in Oregon and Washington also filed for a union election to join ONA Nov. 9.

The new union hospitalists at Legacy work at: 

  • Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center in Portland
  • Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland
  • Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland
  • Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center in Tualatin
  • Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center in Gresham
  • Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center in Vancouver, WA

“The hospital works best when physicians have a strong voice and Legacy truly needs our help running the hospital and fixing our many systemic issues,” said Dr. Rob Morgan, an internal medicine physician at Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center and Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland. “We got into medicine to help people, but we can't help anyone if we're not healthy ourselves. Through our union, I hope we can build back a strong long-term relationship with hospital leadership that prioritizes our wellbeing and necessary resources for providing safe, sustainable, high-quality patient care now and in the future. I love working at Legacy and I love all the frontline staff here. It's my sincerest hope to work here for the rest of my career in medicine.”  

The nearly 200 hospitalists at Legacy immediately become one of the largest hospitalist union groups in the country and join nearly 700 ONA union nurses and mental and behavioral health professionals already working in the Legacy Health system.

Although unionized nurses have been advocating for better patient care and working conditions in Oregon for more than 100 years, new groups of Oregon health care workers are now joining or forming their own unions in large numbers. Twenty years ago, few US physicians were part of a union, but as health care systems have become larger and more corporate, doctors see collective bargaining as the best way to ensure their voices are heard in decisions that affect their patients and their profession. 

Legacy Health is a private nonprofit health system which operates eight hospitals and more than 70 clinics in Oregon and Washington. It recently made news after unlawfully attempting to close the Family Birth Center at Legacy Mt. Hood, the horrific acts of violence in the workplace at Legacy Good Samaritan, and its announced intent to merge with Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).

During the pandemic, Legacy collected more than $400 million in profits between 2020-2022 including nearly $100 million in taxpayer bailouts via the CARES Act. Prior to 2020, Legacy’s hospital profits averaged between $44 million to $79 million per year. Legacy also owns a significant $1 billion + investment portfolio. 

The Pacific Northwest Hospital Medicine Association (PNWHMA) was created in 2015 as the first hospitalist-specific labor union in the United States. It has since expanded to represent more doctors and advanced practice providers. PNWHMA is affiliated with AFT Healthcare—the fastest-growing healthcare union in the country. AFT Healthcare represents more than 200,000 members in 100 locals in 18 states and territories. 

The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) is the state’s largest and most influential nursing organization. We are a professional association and labor union which represents more than 17,000 nurses and allied health workers throughout the state. ONA’s mission is to advocate for nursing, quality health care and healthy communities. For more information visit: www.OregonRN.org.


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