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News Release
Oregon Nurses Call on District Attorney to Investigate Providence for Wage Theft - 11/28/22

Providence’s broken payroll system has systematically and repeatedly shortchanged Oregon’s nurses and other frontline health care workers for nearly 5 months.

(Portland, OR) – Earlier today, the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) asked the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office to launch an independent investigation of Providence Health & Services for ongoing wage theft against frontline nurses and other health care workers. Since July 2022, Providence systematically underpaid thousands of health care workers by using a faulty payroll system which resulted in unpaid hours; unpaid overtime; unpaid differentials; unpaid certifications; and other lost hours and benefits. In some cases, nurses and health care workers did not receive a paycheck at all despite working 40+ hour weeks. In other cases, Providence is failing to pay workers’ money owed to them for taking on advanced training and responsibilities at work. 

Due to Providence’s repeated payroll failures, frontline nurses and other hourly health care workers have incurred debt and shouldered added financial stress including having their bank accounts overdrawn and facing financial penalties, foregoing monthly payments and skipping essentials because of missed pay and underpayments. 

“It feels like we don’t matter. No one at Providence is accountable,” said ONA member Danica Trujillo, a registered nurse at Providence Portland Medical Center. “I’ve spent hours auditing my time cards. On my days off, I’m on the phone with Providence’s HR. I feel like I can’t afford to spend any money because I don’t know if I’ll receive the money I’ve earned next week or not. I’m working a job but I’m not getting paid for it. I don’t know what my future holds.” 

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office recently partnered with the statewide Bureau of Labor & Industries (BOLI) to investigate criminal charges for corporations who repeatedly or intentionally commit wage theft. 

This summer, Providence switched to a new Genesis payroll system which systematically underpays nurses and other frontline health care workers in Multnomah County and throughout the Providence system. ONA represents more than 4,000 frontline nurses working in 10 Providence Health System hospitals and facilities across the state, including Providence’s flagship hospital in Multnomah County–Providence Portland Medical Center. 

More than 200 ONA members across the state filed a class action lawsuit against Providence in August to recover lost wages and damages owed to all workers at Providence including nurses, allied health workers, technicians, housekeepers, food services staff, doctors and other workers who have suffered from Providence’s failure to pay workers the wages they are owed. While the exact amount of theft is too large to determine without a comprehensive audit, lost wages and penalties could be in the millions. Workers who have been victims of Providence’s wage theft do not have to be named in the lawsuit to benefit from a fair settlement. 

Since July, frontline workers throughout the Providence system have filed tens of thousands of HR payroll tickets about lost and inaccurate pay. Providence has responded by closing many pay tickets and informing workers it fixed the problem; only to underpay nurses again on their next check.  

“What’s frustrating to me is that they don’t seem to care. It shouldn’t take 3 months to get a payroll screw up fixed,” said ONA member Michelle McSherry, a veteran nurse who has worked at Providence Portland Medical Center for nearly 30 years. “I have never seen such disregard for staff as what is happening now. Not just with Genesis but in many matters like staffing shortages. Wage theft is just an ongoing issue we seem to get to deal with. It certainly makes me want to look elsewhere for employment.”

ONA nurses at all 10 ONA Providence bargaining units have also filed workplace grievances against Providence. The grievances offer Providence another way to solve its problems and ensure workers are paid the amount they’ve earned by:

  • Reinstating the prior payroll system as a backup to ensure payroll records are accurate and to prevent Providence from continuing to underpay frontline nurses and health care workers.
  • Conducting a comprehensive audit of all time card records since the implementation of the Genesis payroll system to determine and correct all improper wage deductions and restore any lost benefits including potential lost paid time off (PTO).
  • Paying direct and indirect damages to all workers affected by Providence’s improper wage deductions, including but not limited to banking overdraft fees, fines for missed rent or mortgage payments and credit card late payment penalties.

Providence Health & Services/Providence St. Joseph Health is the third-largest health system in the US and one of the largest employers and companies in Oregon with tens of billions in annual revenue. Despite its national reach, Providence regularly collects more than half of its total profits from Oregonians. 

The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) is the state’s largest and most influential nursing organization. We are a professional association and labor union which represents more than 15,000 nurses and allied health workers throughout the state, including more than 4,000 nurses working at 10 Providence Oregon health care facilities throughout the state. ONA’s mission is to advocate for nursing, quality health care and healthy communities. For more information visit: www.OregonRN.org.


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