Providence Nurses on Strike

PORTLAND, Ore.– She’s a nurse at Providence Willamette Falls. “We have been clear from the beginning about what our priorities are.” Virginia Smith is also on the negotiating team, which says it’s been trying to reach a new contract for months. “Providence cannot undermine our safe staffing law,” referring to new legislation Governor Kotek signed into law this year.

Caroline Allison is a nurse who works at Providence Medford. “Providence is a 28 billion dollar corporation. They pay their CEO $10 million a year and they can’t find the money to invest in nurses and patients. Where are the values in that? Where is the excellence and justice and integrity? Where’s the dignity and compassion in that choice? We are facing a staffing crisis and our nurses are overworked.”

Providence management pushes back against the nurses’ claims.  They say their average nurse makes $100,000 a year or more, and that they’ve offered fair raises and benefits. The company says they’ve hired enough replacement workers to take care of patients needs during the strike.  Providence is also accusing the union of trying to disrupt health care access by asking traveling nurses to refuse to work at six Providence facilities during the strike. The three day strike started at 6 a. m. Tuesday with 3, 000 nurses participating.

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