Who’s Threatening to Strike This Week? Dentists!

Hot labor summer is turning into a long walkout fall. After successful strikes by Hollywood writers, United Parcel Service workers and others, unions across the country are picketing for better pay and benefits.

The same is true in Portland. Nurses at Oregon Health & Science University voted to strike, then won a new contract last week with wage increases of as much as 15%. Doctors, nurses and physician assistants at Legacy Health are working to unionize. Workers at Kaiser Permanente walked out for three days last week and plan to leave again next month if their demands aren’t met. Employees at Powell’s Books picketed on Labor Day; Portland Public Schools teachers could strike midmonth.

Given the depth of worker grievance right now, WW is starting an occasional series on labor actions around town. Today is the first installment, and it starts small, by the numbers.

You may not know it, but Multnomah County has dentists on its payroll. They perform checkups, cleanings, fillings and even root canals on people who have Medicaid or are uninsured. Many of their patients are houseless and in dire need of oral care.

The county health department employs 20 dentists, and 18 of them are members of Local 88. They voted to strike late last month. Contract negotiations are underway, and the county wants them to see more patients for routine work, cutting into time needed for more dire emergencies, AFSCME Local 88 says.

Source: Who’s Threatening to Strike This Week? Dentists! / Willamette Week

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