Friday, July 23, 2021


More than 10,000 NY and NJ airport workers will get health insurance as part of new contract negotiations; and Dr. Jill Biden is in Tokyo for the Olympic Games.


Drama builds over who will serve on the House January 6th panel; Senate tries to hold tech accountable for COVID misinformation; and VP Harris promotes a path to citizenship for Dreamers.

Analysis: OR Hospital Workers Exposed Economically, Too


Wednesday, April 29, 2020   

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Oregon hospital workers are on the front lines during the COVID-19 crisis, and some remain financially vulnerable as well.

A new analysis from Service Employees International Union Local 49 found that the median pay for one in five Oregon hospital workers isn't a living wage. Of 60,000 workers, more than 2,600 are on the state's Medicaid program, the Oregon Health Plan, despite working for a health-care provider.

Mike Morrison, assistant director of SEIU Local 49's health-care division, said the research found that pay for some of the Providence hospital system's top executives highlights the inequities.

"They've got more than 10 CEOs who make more than $1 million a year while the folks who are on the front lines use OHP or food stamps or SNAP to make those ends meet," he said, "and so it does leave a lot of folks saying, 'How are these essential workers the priority?'"

About 1,400 workers rely on SNAP benefits, according to the analysis. However, hospitals such as Providence face financial stresses of their own in the pandemic. Non-urgent procedures, which have been suspended, are a major source of funds, and Providence officials say they've lost 40% of their revenue since the crisis began.

Workers paid less than a living wage and without employer-sponsored health care include nursing assistants and emergency-room technicians, as well as cleaning and janitorial staff. The union is pushing for an additional $5-an-hour essential worker pay, and paid leave for workers exposed to the coronavirus.

Jennifer Bryant, a phlebotomist at Providence Milwaukie Hospital, said she was exposed to a patient who later tested positive for COVID-19 -- but didn't have access to testing herself because she wasn't showing symptoms.

"It just brings a little extra stress," she said, "not knowing who you're dealing with or what they might have, and bringing it home to your family later -- you know, always stressful."

Morrison said the lack of health insurance is a major barrier. He said he believes hospitals should cover the cost of treatment for workers or their family members if they contract the virus.

"They're just so economically vulnerable that walking away from this coronavirus pandemic with a whole bunch of medical debt -- because they contracted coronavirus or because someone in their household did -- is just going to make things so much harder for these folks," he said.

The SEIU Local 49 analysis is online at

Disclosure: SEIU Local 49 contributes to our fund for reporting on Livable Wages/Working Families, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
While most electricity in Utah is generated by gas or coal-powered plants, one regional utility is considering the nuclear option. (brianguest/Adobe Stock)


SALT LAKE CITY -- In the push toward carbon-free energy production, some cities in Utah and nearby states are considering a new type of nuclear …

Health and Wellness

TAMPA, Fla. -- Move United's USA Wheelchair Football League is expanding from four cities to nine, including Tampa, to give athletes with …


CRAIG, Colo. -- What would it look like if one in four households in the country was solar-powered? A new report from the "30 Million Solar Homes" …

According to the American Heart Association, one in five cardiac arrests occurs in public, such as on a job site. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

DES MOINES, Iowa -- People across the Midwest, including Iowans, have dealt with a series of heat waves this summer. Health experts say hotter …

Social Issues

NEW YORK -- Over 10,000 New York and New Jersey front-line airport workers will get health insurance as part of new contract negotiations that come at…

More than 400 laws have been introduced this year that would restrict voting rights across the country. (Lakshmiprasad/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

INDIANAPOLIS -- Voting-rights advocates applaud this week's federal appeals-court decision to prevent Indiana from purging some voters from the rolls …


BOSTON -- A new survey finds widespread public support up and down the East Coast for protecting right whales from getting tangled up in fishing gear…


CARSON CITY, Nev. - A bill just introduced in the U.S, Senate would help thousands of species stay off the Endangered Species List - including …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021