PORTLAND, Ore. – After a week of failed talks between the Oregon Nurses Association and Providence Medical Group, about 1,800 nurses and clinicians went on strike Monday morning, June 19, 2023.
At 5:30 a.m., nurses and doctors at Providence Portland Medical Center left the building, which was the start of the strike. At 7 a.m., nurses from Providence Seaside and Providence Home Health & Hospice will join the strike.
A Recent Tweet By Oregon Nurses Association with Caption- Day 2 of #provstrike
✅ Day 2 of #ProvStrike
The energy on the line remains high! Thank you to everyone who joined us at Seaside for our rally! To learn more about the strike, check out https://t.co/1G1HxiQQJ5#RecruitRetainRespect #WeAreONA #caregivers #clinicians #healthcareworkers #solidarity pic.twitter.com/LlOa4kLrSB
— Oregon Nurses Association (@OregonNurses) June 21, 2023
ONA said the strike happened because they couldn’t come to an agreement with Providence about “fair contracts that will attract new staff, keep experienced nurses and clinicians, and honor members’ commitment to patients and their communities with safe patient care standards and a competitive wage and benefits package.”
Here, you can read an overview of what Providence Medical Group has offered to the strikers.
During the strike, ONA also told patients and people in the community not to wait to get medical care.
“Patients should seek hospital care immediately if they need it,” ONA said in a statement Sunday June ,18, 2023. “We would rather be the ones providing that care, but Providence management have forced our hand and we find ourselves on the picket line advocating for you, our communities, and our colleagues. Going into the hospital to get the care you need is NOT crossing our strike line. In fact, we invite you to come join us on the strike line after you’ve gotten the care you need.”
Staff at the hospital who were on strike said FOX 12 on behalf of ONA that the shift to the new workers went smoothly.
”The transition period to our replacement workforce has been completed and it has gone very smoothly. As expected PPMC has reduced capacity by about 25% from normal operations, while seaside has reduced capacity by about 50%.” Chief nursing officer Jennifer Gentry said.
Gentry, who works for Providence, said there are ready-to-care-for-patients backup nurses at the hospital and nursing homes.
“We really want to get a message out to our community that if there is an emergency, we’re here for them and can take care of them, but if it’s something that can wait or they can go to a different hospital for, we ask that they do so,” Gentry said.
Patients whose appointments were canceled because of the strike were told by phone. Otherwise, appointments and trips to the hospital will go on as usual.
Molly Burtchaell, a nurse at Providence Portland who helps women give birth, talked to FOX 12 on behalf of ONA.
“I’m really disappointed, we really wanted to avoid this. We wanted Providence to hear us and to help us get a fair contract without having to walk out,” Burtchaell said. “None of the nurses, none of the clinicians want to be out on the street. We want to be taking care of our patients.”
Richard Botterill is a nurse who works in the emergency room at Providence, Portland. He is on strike.