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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

OR hospital workers celebrate decision to unionize

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Wednesday, May 29, 2024   

Workers at an Oregon hospital are celebrating their recent vote in favor of unionizing. More than 260 Legacy Mount Hood health-care workers voted to join SEIU Local 49. The union represents other Legacy health-care workers in the Portland area, including at Emanuel, Randall Children's and Good Samaritan hospitals.

Kathi Mitchell is a certified health technician at Legacy Mount Hood.

"We wanted to form a union, stand up for our fair pay and respect, and not only that. My idea is, I'm going to retire in five years, and I want this for future generations, for future employees," she said.

Mitchell added she and coworkers decided joining a union could help them get better pay. She points out that some of her colleagues work two jobs to make ends meet. A spokesperson for Legacy said it respects the decision and is committed to "open, respectful and productive relationships" with employees, regardless of union status.

Workers at Legacy Mount Hood have also been concerned about staffing levels. Mitchell said certified health technicians, or CHTs, working day shifts sometimes have six to eight patients to look after, and night shift CHTs can have as many as 16.

"Guess who suffers? Not only the CHTs - the patient care suffers. And so, that was another focus for me, is the patient care at Legacy Mount Hood, so we could provide better care for our patients," Mitchell stressed.

Next, the union will determine its priorities for bargaining and begin negotiations on its first contract. SEIU Local 49 represents about 15,000 workers in Oregon and southwest Washington, including health-care workers, janitors and security guards.

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.


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