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News Release
Nurses wave signs during informational picket in downtown Seaside on April 27, 2023
Nurses wave signs during informational picket in downtown Seaside on April 27, 2023
1,400 Frontline Nurses to Vote to Authorize Strikes at Providence Portland, Seaside (Photo) - 05/23/23

(Portland, OR) – After eight months of contentious negotiations and limited response from Providence management, frontline nurses at Providence Portland and Providence Seaside are launching strike authorization votes. Providence Portland’s vote will open at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, May 24 and Providence Seaside’s vote will open at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 25. Both votes will close at 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 4. By voting yes, nurses are authorizing their union leaders to call a strike to win improvements at the bargaining table and to protest Providence’s repeated unfair labor practices (ULPs).

  • Outstanding issues at the bargaining table include:
  • Increased staffing as more and more nurses leave the bedside due to burnout and moral injury. Safe nurse staffing ensures high-quality care and patient access.
  • Increased paid leave (36-52 additional hours) since many nurses need to use their vacation time to cover illnesses like Covid-19 and the flu.
  • Pay increases that will stem the constant turnover. At least 600 of the 1300 nurses at Providence Portland Medical Center have worked there for 4 years or less. This means that Providence has lost invaluable experience caring for the sickest and most vulnerable patients.
  • Benefit improvements that bring Providence's health benefits up to the market for Portland area healthcare workers.

“We’ve been telling Providence for years that the wage and benefit package they are offering isn’t retaining staff, and they simply refuse to listen," said Richard Botterill, RN and bargaining unit chair at Providence Portland. “If Providence doesn’t change course or address short-staffing, nurses will continue to leave the bedside, the quality of patient care will suffer, and Providence will let down our community.”  

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) guarantees workers’ rights to engage in concerted union activity. NLRA violations are called unfair labor practices (ULPs). ULP charges filed against the hospitals include:

  • Failure to provide information necessary to collective bargaining.
  • Failure to bargain in good faith over mandatory topics of negotiation.
  • Discriminating against, interfering with, threatening, or attempting to intimidate workers because they participated in protected union activities.
  • Discriminatory policies which infringe on nurses’ rights to communicate about union business and engage in union activity, include confiscation of union literature and telling nurses they cannot meet with union reps under certain conditions.

ONA nurses have volunteered their time to meet frequently with paid Providence managers since October 2022, advocating for basic patient and nurse safety improvements. Nurses at both facilities are working under expired contracts. Meanwhile, management has been slow to respond to the nurses’ top priorities.  

“I have been a nurse for more than 35 years, and I love the work I do, or I would not still be doing it. But I am tired of the short staffing and the lack of respect from Providence,” said Mary Romanaggi, RN at Providence Seaside Hospital. “It is just as expensive to live on the coast as it is in Portland, but our wages are lower. That means new nurses are less willing to set down roots and become a part of this wonderful community.”

If ONA members vote to authorize a ULP strike at Providence Portland and Providence Seaside, ONA’s nurse leaders will determine next steps, including setting potential strike dates. If a strike is called, ONA will provide Providence with a 10-day notice to allow management adequate time to cease admissions and transfer patients or to reach a fair agreement with nurses and avert a work stoppage. ONA’s nurse bargaining team at Providence Portland is scheduled to meet with Providence management for a bargaining session again on May 30 and June 13, while ONA nurses at Providence Seaside will meet for negotiations on June 7 and 14.  

ONA-represented nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, social workers, and bereavement counselors at Providence Home Health and Hospice will also launch a strike authorization vote beginning next Tuesday, May 30. Like their hospital nurse counterparts, these clinicians are fighting for market wages, adequate PTO, improved health benefits, and reasonable workload and caseload standards that ensure they have the time to provide quality patient care.  

The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) is the state’s largest and most influential nursing organization. We are a professional association and labor union representing over 16,000 nurses and allied health workers 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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