OHSU nurses protest over benefit cuts, changes in patient loads - KPTV - FOX 12

OHSU nurses protest over benefit cuts, changes in patient loads

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

More than 200 nurses lined the sidewalks in front of the Oregon Nurses Association headquarters in Tualatin Wednesday morning with signs in hand to make a collective call for change.

The organization's OHSU chapter has been in contract negotiations with the hospital for 21 days, and now state mediators have begun negotiations with the union in hopes of working out an agreement for the future.

ONA leaders contend that OHSU wants to cut retirement and health benefits for nurses, change paid time off levels and increase the nurses’ patient care loads, all moves the nurses say aren't fair to patients.

"We're the front line of health care, you know. The patient feels our care first and foremost,” nurse Rick Alton said. “I don't think any patient or parent would want their children taken care of by a nurse that is overloaded and not being able to be truly attentive to the patient."

OHSU issued a statement in response to the negotiations, saying in part that value their nurses and that they have reached tentative agreements on many key issues.

"OHSU has tremendous respect for its nurses and greatly values their vital role in ensuring patients receive the best possible care. To that end, OHSU's economic proposals will continue to retain and reward nurses with compensation and benefits that meet or exceed those at other area hospitals while effectively managing costs.

“We are pleased to note that OHSU and ONA have reached more than 90 tentative agreements on key issues and are making progress on many others. OHSU is committed to a fair contract and looks forward to continued discussion of these important issues."

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