Providence nurses announce 10-day strike notice

Thousands of healthcare providers from three Providence facilities are preparing to go on strike.
Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 11:21 AM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Thousands of healthcare providers from three Providence facilities are preparing to go on strike. The announcement was made Friday and the strike is set to start in 10 days.

Representatives with the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) say the strike is coming after failed negotiations with management teams at Providence Portland, Providence Seaside and Provide Home Health and Hospice.

The nurses and clinicians preparing to go on strike are demanding a new contract that will recruit new nurses to the hospitals and also retain the nurses who are already there. That would mean increasing wages to a fair market value that nurses say they are not getting.

“We want to care for our patients. We’re invested in our communities, we want to work in our communities, and it’s very demoralizing for them to think we’re not good enough and we can be replaced by travel nurses and nurses that come in across the line,” said Tamie Cline, ONA President.

ONA says all three bargaining teams have been in these negotiations since the fall of last year, and right now nurses are working under expired contracts.

Their intent to strike was delivered to employed on Thursday and the strike is set to start on Monday, June 19.

However, there are further bargaining meetings scheduled for next week before the strike is set to start and healthcare providers say that Providence has led them to believe they will not be showing up to those meetings.

“Providence has made it clear that in their statement that when we were giving 10-day notice that they would refuse to bargain. They said they would need to use that time to gather the resources to provide care in their facilities but what we say to that is we already provide care for our facilities and if you give us a fair contract, we’re going to be there and never leave and continue to provide amazing care to them,” said Kyle, RN, Providence Portland Surgical Oncology Unit.

Nurses say if something does change and Providence does show up to those meetings and they are able to come to an agreement on a fair contract they will not go on strike, but right now they don’t see that happening.

The healthcare workers say if an agreement is not met and they are forced to go on strike, the quality of patient care will go down, though they say patient care has already gone down and that is why they are striking.

Providence sent a statement Friday in response to the strike, saying:

We firmly believe that strikes don’t settle contracts, they delay them and keep our hard-working caregivers from getting the pay, benefits and contract enhancements they deserve. They also strain the health care delivery system in our communities, which can jeopardize vital care for those who rely on us.

We’re disappointed that ONA would ask union caregivers to choose between continuing to care for our community and a strike that distracts from the important dialogue at the bargaining table, which is where contracts get settled.

Our ministries have been preparing for this unfortunate possibility and are confident they will continue to provide critical services during the strike. Our highest priority is continued access to care for those who need it. The reality is that because of the staffing challenges a strike creates, there will be services that will be limited or closed during the strike.

As we turn our full focus to preparing our ministries for strikes, we’ll return to the bargaining table once these strikes end with a continued commitment to reaching agreements on contracts that benefit our caregivers and their families.