Providence nurses, clinicians issue strike notice

Members of the Oregon Nurses Association at Providence Portland Medical Center, Providence Seaside Hospital, and Providence Home Health and Hospice have issued a 10-day notice to strike.

The notice was delivered to Providence administrators on June 8 and indicates nurses' and clinicians' intention to strike beginning at 5:30 a.m. at Providence Portland and 7:00 a.m. at Providence Seaside and Providence Home Health and Hospice on June 19, according to a union news release. A strike may still be averted if both sides reach an agreement.

Union members voted to authorize strikes in late May and early June. Nurses and clinicians began contract negotiations with management in fall 2022, according to the ONA release. Their most recent contracts expired last year.

The union contends that management has not adequately invested in staffing for stable patient care in the hospital, home health and hospice care settings. The union also seeks increased paid leave hours and increased pay to fill open shifts.

The union's release states: "Nurses and clinicians are demanding Providence give them a fair contract that will recruit new nurses to the hospitals, retain the highly skilled and valuable caregivers who work at the hospitals and in patients' homes, set safe staffing standards, and ensure high-quality of care for all patients whether they be in the hospital or community care setting."

Management shared the following statement with Becker's: "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 healthcare 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."

The statement went on to say that the facilities were preparing to continue offering access to critical services in the event of a strike, adding, "Our highest priority is continued access to care for those who need it. … 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."

The union represents about 1,800 nurses and clinicians at Providence Portland Medical Center, Providence Seaside Hospital, and Providence Home Health and Hospice, all part of Renton, Wash.-based Providence.

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