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Fight Between Union And Health Care Systems Avoided

OPB | Feb. 21, 2014 2:41 p.m. | Updated: March 14, 2014 6:42 a.m. | Portland

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Governor John Kitzhaber has managed to calm a fight between labor unions and health care providers.

In October, the Service Employees International Union filed five ballot measures to reduce the salaries of hospital executives and make hospitals post prices for procedures.

SEIU Local 49 president, Meg Niemi, says the union has now withdrawn those measures as part of an agreement with half a dozen major health care groups.

“The best way to work to resolve issues is through front line care giver who actually deliver that care, having a voice and saying, here are ways we can make care better, we can deliver the service more efficiently,” said Niemi.

Governor Kitzhaber said he appreciates the union and hospitals working together to avoid a multi-million dollar ballot fight.

But while an electoral conflict may have been avoided in the health care arena, other unions are still moving forward with a measure to raise corporate taxes, and other business sectors are pursuing a “right to work” measure.

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