Members of Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (OFNHP) held an informational picket April 27 outside Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center to protest understaffing among emergency room nurses. The union says understaffing is leading to unacceptably high turnover at in Sunnyside’s Emergency Department—40 nurses (57%) have left in the last year. Members have begun posting “grave stones” in an employee locker room for each coworker that has left.
Under the terms of a longstanding partnership agreement, Kaiser is supposed to work with the union to address concerns like that, but OFNHP spokesperson Shane Burley says local management has been canceling meetings and making changes without union members’ input.
OFNHP has begun negotiations over a new contract as part of a national coalition of unions known as the Alliance of Healthcare Unions.