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.