ONA nurses hold info picket in Oregon City amid contract negotiations

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 10:20 PM PDT
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OREGON CITY, Ore. (KPTV) – The Oregon Nurses Association held an information picket against Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center in Oregon City. The nurses there said they were picketing to address safety concerns, staffing, benefit issues and other issues.

“What we really want is a contract, we don’t want to strike and we don’t even particularly like marching around with signs we just want a contract,” Jay Formick, a registered nurse, who is also part of the bargaining team, said.

Formick said there are a number of sticking points that ONA and Providence just can’t seem to agree on.

“One of our big concerns in negotiations is finding language we can agree on that will keep patients safer but management is just digging their heels in and have rejected every opportunity we’ve given them,” Formick said.

He said they want to show the community what’s going on and are hoping to put pressure on management.

“We respect their right to picket, they have every right to do that. We are eager to get the ONA back to the table,” Brad Henry, the CEO of Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center, said. Henry said at their next meeting, they’re bringing in a federal mediator.

“We’re more successful talking than we are walking so we’re excited to have the mediator there to help us finish the deal,” Henry said.

He added their current offer is a 7.75 percent increase in wages with contract enhancements and subsequent increases in the second and third years. However, Formick said that’s not enough and nowhere near on pace with inflation.

“We don’t quite understand after all the rhetoric about valuing nurses they’re not living up to it and showing that value by giving us a fair contract,” Formick said.

Both sides said they don’t want a strike, although Formick said it’s not off the table.

“Management holds a lot of the cards so if they leave us no alternatives, well, we’ll have to strike,” Formick said. Henry said they do have a plan if a strike does happen.

“We have plans for replacement workers to come in and help us make sure that we can provide the high quality care that we have been providing so far,” Henry said. The next negotiation meeting will be on May 25th.