May 26, 2024

PMMC Nurses Take Contract Fight Public with Planned Picket

Medford, Oregon- Frontline nurses at Providence Medford Medical Center (PMMC) are escalating their contract dispute to the public sphere after months of unsuccessful negotiations. Organized by the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA), the nurses will stage an informational picket on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, to highlight issues surrounding healthcare standards for nurses, patients, and communities.

The ONA represents over 4,700 nurses across nine Providence Health System facilities in Oregon. Their primary concerns include enhancing standards across Providence, Oregon’s largest healthcare system and a major corporate entity in the state.

Negotiations with PMMC management began in January but hit a roadblock when the contract expired in March.

Despite progress on some issues, nurses remain dissatisfied with Providence’s response to their core concerns:

Safe Patient Assignments: Nurses demand manageable patient loads to ensure patient safety, highlighting cases where nurses are assigned up to eight patients during meal breaks.
Paid Time Off (PTO): Providence RNs lag behind industry standards by 20-30 hours.
Market-Competitive Wages & Benefits: Current compensation falls below market rates, leaving caregivers at a disadvantage compared to peers in similar roles.
According to organizers, these grievances have prompted nurses to take action, emphasizing patient safety and the recruitment and retention of caregivers. They say their concerns extend beyond Providence Medford, affecting nurses at other Providence facilities across the state.

ONA remarks that despite nurses’ efforts, hundreds remain without a contract, with upcoming contract expirations at more facilities. Nurses at Providence St. Vincent and Providence Newberg have even authorized potential strikes to further their cause.

Organizers say that the public is invited to join the informational picket, demonstrating solidarity with caregivers striving to enhance healthcare standards in Oregon. The picket, distinct from a strike, aims to raise awareness and advocate for improved conditions within Providence and across the state.

At this time, PMMC has not released a statement regarding the planned picket.