Workers at Columbia River Veterinary Services in Vancouver announced Thursday that they have ratified their first union contract with the clinic’s parent company, PetVet Care Centers. The vote was 53-1 in favor of ratification, according to a press release from the union.
The workers are part of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 5, which represents about 600 workers in the Portland metro area including staff at The Oregon Historical Society and Powell’s Books, according to spokesman Ryan Takas.
The contract has been under negotiation for about two years, and the union describes it as the first-ever private sector union contract in the veterinary industry. Workers at three other West Coast clinics have unionized with ILWU, Takas said, including VCA Northwest Veterinary Specialists in Clackamas, Ore., but the Columbia River Veterinary Services unit is the first to reach a contract agreement and ratify it.
The agreement is retroactive to the start of 2020 and includes provisions such as a wage structure and yearly cost of living adjustments, which the union said would lead to an average 17 percent wage increase by the end of the contract in 2023.