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McKenzie Willamette Employees Protest In Front Of Hospital

Desmond O'Boyle

About 75 health care workers and union members protested in front of McKenzie Willamette Hospital in Springfield Thursday. The employees have been trying to negotiate a new labor contract since January when the last one expired.

Workers chanted, played drums, and marched around the hospital. Ken Charpie  is a Medical Laboratory Scientist at McKenzie-Willamette. He says the raise employees are slated to receive won’t offset higher health care costs.

Charpie: “We’re actually looking at basically a pay reduction or a wage reduction when we’re incredibly profitable. It’s unfortunate that the company is just kind of milking the workers.”

Carey Myers is a housekeeper for McKenzie Willamette. She says scheduling is also an issue that has many employees worried.

Myers: “A lot of people are on 8 hour shifts, they are being changed to 12 hour shifts. And some people are having their hours cut back so it just depends on the department. Like the nurses are going from 8 to 12 hour shifts and some of the rest of us are going from 5 days a week down to 2 days a week.”

Service Employees International Union members are meeting with a federal regulator later this month. They hope a resolution will prevent a strike or walk-out. McKenzie Willamette declined to comment on any specifics.

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