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Willamette Valley Medical Center Nurses Vote YES!

WVMC Nurses Celebrate the Yes vote

On Dec. 18, 2019, nurses at Willamette Valley Medical Center overwhelmingly voted to join the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) today in a union election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The 170 nurses at Willamette Valley Medical Center have been organizing with ONA for the past year.

“Nurses put our patients first every day. Joining ONA gives us a voice to raise safety standards, improve patient care and ensure Willamette Valley Medical Center is a place nurses and our community can be proud of,” said Corey Mertz, a local nurse leader at Willamette Valley Medical Center.

Willamette Valley Medical Center is McMinnville’s only hospital and one of only two for-profit hospitals in Oregon. Despite high profits, the hospital’s safety and health care quality scores have dropped precipitously since it was bought by out-of-state corporation LifePoint Health in 2018. In fall 2019, Willamette Valley Medical Center received the worst hospital safety grade in Oregon from industry watchdog The Leapfrog Group. Over the last two years, Willamette Valley’s Leapfrog safety scores have dropped from consistent A grades to Cs and Ds.

“The hospital can’t coast on past successes,” said Jenie White, a local nurse leader at Willamette Valley Medical Center. “Unionizing gives nurses a seat at the table so we can work with management to raise the bar and continue providing the high-quality health care our community deserves.”

Local nurse leaders look forward to working with hospital management during the contract bargaining process.

Nurses' priorities include:

  • Improving patient care
  • Raising safety standards
  • Ensuring fair treatment for all
  • Gaining a local voice in hospital decision-making

In the coming weeks, nurses will begin the process of electing an executive team, writing bylaws and setting dates for contract negotiations with the hospital.

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