Rawlin workers end strike, UO to open in fall, Springfield fills Council seat

Rawlin workers end strike

After striking for two weeks and receiving no engagement on their issues from management, workers at The Rawlin have decided to end their strike. While some workers may now return to worker, about half of them have decided to resign. Workers have stated that they will continue fighting for better conditions for care facility residents and employees through legislation in this years Regular Session in Salem.

“The majority of us feel that continuing to work at The Rawlin, when no changes have been made, is not something we can do in good conscience,” Summer Trosko, who is a care provider at the facility and was one of the lead organizers.

Workers expressed that it is a toxic environment for them and residents and that workers didn’t receive adequate resources to provide proper care. Additionally they management would often not wear PPE or practice social distancing. Workers resigning walked into the facility together on Tuesday to provide their notices to The Rawlin.

Rawlin workers along with SEIU 503 are pushing two bills to improve conditions at care facilities across Oregon. Senate Bill 703 introduced, by Senator Deborah Paterson, would provide transparency to care facilities financials and quality of care. Senate Bill 714, introduced by Senator Sara Gelser, creates a minimum staffing ratio for memory care and residential care facilities.

The New York Times covered the issue of staff turnover at care facilities, which they report likely lead to high levels of deaths at facilities across the nation during the pandemic, and spoke to SEIU 503 Executive Director Melissa Unger and Rawlin worker Summer Trosko.

UO to return to in-person instruction this fall

University of Oregon President Schill announced Monday that the university will return for “predominantly in-person education” in the fall of this year. President Schill notes the University came to this conclusion after Gov. Brown announced new COVID-19 vaccine sequencing details that will make higher education employees eligible by May 1. In addition the hundreds of employees that were already vaccinated under Phase 1A.

Springfield appoints Damien Pitts to Ward 1 council seat

Springfield City Council unanimously appointed Damien Pitts to serve the Ward 1 Councilor position Monday. Pitts serves as an Academic Advisor and Diversity Initiatives Specialist at the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business. In his application he says that he previously served on Lane County’s Equity and Access Board.

Pitts will be sworn in at the March 8 City Council Meeting and will serve through December 31, 2022.