Strike back on table as Providence Oregon hospital nurses reject tentative deal

Nurses at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Ore., have rejected a tentative agreement with hospital management.

Their union, the Oregon Nurses Association, negotiated the tentative deal earlier in June covering 1,600 nurses at St. Vincent. But union members voted to reject it by a 4-to-1 margin, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported June 23.  

"Put simply, hundreds of experienced, front-line ONA nurses looked at Providence's offer and said it's not good enough," said Jessica Lobell, RN, a maternity nurse at St. Vincent and a member of ONA's bargaining team, according to the TV and radio public broadcasting network.

Now, the ONA nurse bargaining team at St. Vincent and hospital leadership will return to negotiations.

"Using the federal mediator who helped us come up with the current proposed contract, we hope to quickly work through our differences to draft a contract the represented nurses of Providence St. Vincent will approve," Jennifer Burrows, RN, CEO at St. Vincent, said in a statement shared with Becker's.

The statement added, "Over the past eight months, Providence St. Vincent Medical Center has been working with ONA to deliver a fair pay and benefits package to our nurses. We are committed to ensuring our valued nurses receive a fair pay and benefits package. I remain confident we will get through these trying times and we will continue to serve our community — together."

Nurses at St. Vincent voted to authorize a strike in May but have not officially called one. A strike is still a possibility moving forward if the sides are unable to resolve their dispute, union spokesperson Casey Campbell told Becker's

ONA-represented nurses at Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center in Oregon City, Ore., and Providence Milwaukie (Ore.) Hospital have also voted to authorize strikes. All three hospitals are part of Renton, Wash.-based Providence.

The union would issue a 10-day notice before any strike would take place. 

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