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Deal Reached To Avert Nurses Strike At St. Vincent As Talks Continue At Other Providence Hospitals

Nurses and supporters rally outside Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland on May 15th.

PORTLAND, Ore . — 1,600 frontline nurses at Providence St. Vincent Hospital who last month voted to authorize a strike have tentatively accepted the terms of a new two-year contract.

Providence is one of the state’s largest and most profitable health systems and has never faced a strike in Oregon.  The nurses who are represented by the Oregon Nurses Association will vote on the contract in the coming weeks and if approved, it would will take effect immediately.

“Nurses are dedicated to putting our patients first.  We stood up to one of the nation’s largest health care systems and we’ve reached an agreement to make immediate improvements to our patients’ health care,” said RN John Smeltzer, ONA Executive Committee President at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center .

This does not impact the negotiations or preparations to strike at Providence Milwaukie Hospital and Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center after nearly 500 nurses there also authorized strikes last week.   If those strikes proceed, Providence will get 10 days notice.

The nurses have voted nearly unanimously to strike over what the Oregon Nurses Association says are unfair labor practices.  The ONA is demanding fair contracts which improve patient care, raise nurse staffing standards, make health care more affordable and address Providence’s growing staffing crisis.  The association says hundreds of frontline nurses are working without the safety and security of a contract.

Contracts at St. Vincent and Willamette Falls expired last year and Providence Milwaukie’s contract expired in May.  Nurses at Hood River are also moving towards an informational picket.  Another round of bargaining at all three hospitals is planned in the coming weeks.

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