July 21, 2024

The Providence nurse strike has ended, but the fight over health care working conditions roars on

More than 1,800 Providence health system nurses and home health workers ended their weeklong strike at 5 p.m. Friday. It was the first major health care worker work stoppage in Portland in more than 20 years.

But it may not be the last.

Experts say nurses unions across the country have been more willing to authorize strikes and to stop work in the last year due to lasting exhaustion from the pandemic and an unwillingness to continue putting up with existing working conditions.

That’s pushed more nurses to accept the risks inherent in a strike: loss of pay, the stress of walking away from patients, and the question of how the public will perceive a strike by health care workers, who are comparatively well compensated.