Nurses, clinicians at 3 Providence facilities vote to authorize strikes

Portland nurses picket signs
Portland nurses picket signs(ONA)
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 11:34 AM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Nurses at three Providence facilities have voted to authorize strikes, according to the Oregon Nurses Association.

About 1,800 nurses and clinicians from Providence Portland, Providence Seaside and Providence Home Health and Hospice had near unanimous votes to authorize the three strikes.

SEE ALSO: Portland cat with ‘wacky’ name is finalist in national competition

According to the ONA, the strikes are to protest “Providence’s illegal unfair labor practices (ULPs) and were taken in response to eroding standards of care across Providence’s extensive healthcare system.”

The nurses are demanding increased staffing at the hospitals, increased paid leave (36-52 additional hours), pay increases, and better benefits.

“Above all, home health and hospice clinicians are fighting for working conditions that allow us to provide safe patient care,” said Sharon Barbosa, RN and bargaining unit chair for Providence Home Health and Hospice. “Providence increased our caseloads up to 70% in the middle of a global pandemic. Under these conditions, necessary care is delayed, patients suffer, and clinicians continue to flee Providence. Those of us who are left have no choice but to take this stand to protect our patients.”

ONA says that nurses have volunteered their time to meet frequently with paid Providence managers since October 2022, advocating for the changes but have been met with roadblocks.

ONA says negotiations will continue for all three units this week. When a strike is called, ONA says it will give “Providence a 10-day notice to allow management adequate time to cease admissions and transfer patients or to reach a fair agreement with nurses and avert a work stoppage.”

SEE ALSO: Portland man heads to MasterChef kitchen

FOX 12 has reached out to Providence for statement. They provided the following:

“Providence Portland Medical Center has spent nine months negotiating in good faith with ONA over a new contract for our valued nurses. Since September and October 2022, Providence Seaside Hospital and Providence Home Health and Providence Hospice have done the same.

We are disappointed by today’s strike authorization announcement by ONA.  Strikes don’t solve contracts, they delay them, and they put the continuation of critical health care services for our communities at risk.

The reality is that at each bargaining table, Providence Portland, Providence Seaside and Providence Home Health and Providence Hospice have offered strong, market-competitive proposals designed to help recruit and retain skilled caregivers and address the needs of our nurses – and their families.

  • For example: Providence Portland’s latest proposal includes significant, double-digit percentage wage increases in year one alone, immediate pay bumps and multiple bonuses that result in well-earned pay raises for hardworking nurses. It also includes a leading paid time away program that offers eight weeks of 100%-paid time off in short-term disability benefits.

Combined with other contract enhancements and the strong existing benefits they currently receive, these proposals will continue to keep our nurses among the best-compensated in their communities.

As we’ve said before, we believe that talking solves more than walking. The Providence bargaining teams are eager to continue dialogue with ONA as they work tirelessly toward new contracts for their caregivers.”