Unions say Asante will fight unionization “with all they got”

MEDFORD, Ore. – Both SEIU Local 49 and the Oregon Nurses Association said a notice is posted at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center warning staff against unionizing.

It said the Medford-based health system will use every legal means it has to stop it.

“It was really disheartening to see that notice that they want use every legal power that they have squash our union efforts.”

Angela Henry is an Asante vascular ultrasound technologist.

Alleged notice posted at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center.

She said she was disappointed by the letter, as there are nurses at the hospital already represented by a union.

“It’s really unfair to offer something to one group and then say, nope you can’t have it, and we don’t respect you enough to let you have that or agree to let you have that,” Henry said.

More than 1,000 workers are looking at filing for union election through SEIU Local 49.

“We’re not surprised,” SEIU spokesperson Felisa Hagins. “This is very typical behavior of Asante and this is why workers are coming together to form their union.”

The unions said staffers are being brought into meetings by Asante officials to scare them out of joining a union.

“There going to discuss with them why should not join a union,” ONA spokesperson Myrna Jensen said. “And according to that notice it sounds like they’re going to fight it with all they got.”

At Rogue regional, Jensen said 925 nurses are part of its union. 

They also plan to represent around 270 technical employees planning to file for union election.

“These are folks like respiratory therapists and vascular technologists, they work closely with the nurses,” Jensen said.

Asante’s alleged letter said it wants employees to know the facts about unions, and what they can actually deliver.

It also asks them to keep an open mind.

“For the last couple of years we keep asking for things like appropriate staffing and it just falls on deaf ears,” Asante vascular ultrasound technologist Kourtney Scoggins said.

A hearing is scheduled for mid-May with the National Labor Relations Board or NLRB.

The ONA said the process of filing for a union could be drawn out, depending on what Asante choses to do at the hearings.

“Asante would have to file appeals with the NLRB before the vote takes places,” Jensen said. “There are different mechanisms that they can follow.”

As the two unions and the health system dig in, the employees are in the middle, now being asked to choose a path forward.

We asked Asante if the document was indeed theirs.

We didn’t get an answer.

But we did get a statement saying Asante is cooperating and following NLRB procedures.

It went on to say…

“Asante is aware of the NLRB petitions and is currently cooperating and following NLRB procedures to coordinate a federally supervised secret ballot election. Through that election, employees will cast ballots to decide whether they want union representation or not. Asante believes it is vitally important employees make a well-informed decision in preparing to cast their ballots. Asante has, and will continue to, abide by the law. Likewise, Asante will follow and abide by NLRB procedures and law upon receipt of election results.”

Stay with NBC5 News as we will continue to update you on this developing story.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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