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First hospital doctors in the U.S. to form a labor union picket in Oregon

Fed up with the lack of progress at the bargaining table, hospital doctors for PeaceHealth are hitting the picket lines in two weeks.

The doctors will set up an informational picket line outside Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend on June 23. To be clear, it's not a strike.

The hospitalists made history last year by becoming the first US hospital doctors to form a labor union. 

The docs say money is not the issue. Instead, it's doctors wanting to have a strong say in what is good and safe care.

"So when you walk into the hospital the person dictating your care is someone who knows how that care is delivered, not someone who's looking at a spreadsheet, numbers, profits," said Dr. David Schwatz.

Dr. Schwartz said 18 months of bargaining have led to agreement on salaries, benefits, insurance and other issues. But from their view, PeaceHealth management is dragging out the process over management rights and doctor roles in determining how many patients they see in one day.

"What either happens is the patients get the short shrift or we end up just - which most of us do - we work longer and longer hours, and that's not good for anyone," said Dr. Michelle Birdseye.

"But it gets at the broader concept of workloads, of physician burnout, physician retention and these sorts of things," adds PeaceHealth's Dr. Frank Littell.

PeaceHealth management issued a written statement saying they're somewhat surprised by the decision to do the informational picket but that they respect the doctors' right to do so.

http://kval.com/news/local/doctors-union-plans-to-picket-riverbend