Wednesday, December 8, 2021


Latino groups say Nevada's new political maps have diluted their influence, especially in Las Vegas' Congressional District 1; and strikes that erupted in what became known as "Striketober" aren't over yet.


Presidents Biden and Putin discuss the Ukrainian border in a virtual meeting; Senate reaches an agreement to raise the debt ceiling; and officials testify about closing the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.


Rural areas are promised more equity from the U.S. Agriculture Secretary while the AgrAbility program offers new help for farmers with disabilities; and Pennsylvanians for abandoned mine reclamation says infrastructure monies are long overdue.

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
BP's refinery in Whiting, IN covers 1,400 acres in northwestern Indiana, just a few miles from the Chicago loop. (Adobe Stock)


WHITING, Ind. -- International oil-and-gas producer BP will pay more than $500,000 to the federal government as part of a legal settlement over air …

Social Issues

DENVER -- Women and low-income students disproportionately put their college careers on hold during the pandemic, according to a new report. Of the 1…

Social Issues

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- With kids stuck at home early in the pandemic, a new report said child-abuse cases decreased in 2020, but children's advocates say …

The Minnesota Attorney General's Office says even when someone is facing serious financial pressure with a past-due loan, they often don't have to make snap decisions. To avoid scams, borrowers are urged to seek out free consultation. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

MINNEAPOLIS -- With forbearance protections ending during this stage of the pandemic, some struggling homeowners are sorting out their mortgage …

Social Issues

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In a system plagued by a history of disparities, Ohio's child-welfare workers and children's advocates say it is time to reimagine …

Oil and natural-gas production is the largest industrial source of methane pollution in the country. (Adobe Stock)


PITTSBURGH -- Pennsylvanians were overwhelmingly present during three days of virtual public testimony to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) la…

Social Issues

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Kentucky lawmakers heard from the state's nurses, firefighters, truck drivers, grocery store employees and other essential workers …

Social Issues

PORTLAND, Maine -- About 2,200 children are in foster care in Maine, and agencies say there are not enough families who are actively able to accept …


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