‘We’re talking life and death stuff here’: Labor shortages hit Oregon nonprofits

‘We’re talking life and death stuff here’: Labor shortages hit Oregon nonprofits

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“Workforce shortages at other areas mean an inconvenience,” said David Thompson. “At non-profits, it means a crisis.”

Thompson is the Vice President of Public Policy with the National Council of Nonprofits.

“Charitable nonprofits, when there is a workforce shortage, there’s a waiting list, and we know the examples in the Pacific Northwest of people waiting a month to get into a domestic violence shelter,” he said. “We’re talking life and death stuff here.”

A December report from the National Council of Nonprofits credits burnout, lack of accessible childcare and pay as major reasons for the shortage. In the report, an Oregon human service provider shared, “Our frontline workers are exhausted and under stress, which is amplified by the fact that they don’t earn a living wage.”

“For-profits typically can raise wages and they can raise prices to pay for,” said Thompson. “Governments can allocate new resources and paid bonuses, hikes in wages and bonuses.”

“Charitable nonprofits typically can’t do that,” Thompson continued. “Major reason, most of the services that they’re providing to the public were done on behalf of governments and are bound by fixed contracts.”

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