Providence Home Health and Hospice clinicians launch strike authorization vote

Members of the Oregon Nurses Association at Providence Home Health and Hospice have launched a strike authorization vote.

The union represents 400 front-line nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech language pathologists, social workers and bereavement counselors at Providence Home Health and Hospice, according to a May 29 news release from the ONA. Providence Home Health and Hospice is part of Providence, which has 120,000 employees total across Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

Union members began voting on whether to authorize a strike May 30, and voting will close June 4. The union and management began negotiating a new labor contract more than seven months ago, according to the union release. Providence, in a statement shared with Becker's, said Providence Home Health and Hospice has "attempted to negotiate constructively with ONA to deliver a comprehensive pay and benefits package to our nurses." 

The union contends that during bargaining, there has not been enough progress to address members' concerns. Workers say they seek market wages, adequate paid time off, improved health benefits and improved staffing. 

"We would expect that at this stage of negotiations, we would have more from Providence. But they have yet to propose anything to increase paid leave banks or improve staffing standards," Sharon Barbosa, BSN, RN, bargaining unit chair at Providence Home Health and Hospice, said in the union release. "Right now, everything they have offered would exacerbate the recruitment and retention crisis and make it even harder for us to maintain quality patient care standards." 

"A strike authorization vote only distracts from meaningful discussion — and delays substantial pay raises and expanded benefits for our represented team members," Providence said in its statement. "When it comes to negotiations, Providence Home Health and Hospice believes that talking solves more than walking. We are eager to continue the dialogue with ONA as we work toward finding a mutually agreeable resolution."

If workers vote to authorize a strike, it does not mean a labor stoppage will occur. The union would deliver a 10-day notice before going on strike.

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