By COLIN STAUB
Nurses rallied outside Providence St. Vincent March 15 to show they stand behind the union negotiation team in talks with Providence, even if it means going on strike. A sign-in sheet tallied 723 attendees at the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) rally. Supporters in attendance included state representatives Rachel Prusak, Rob Nosse and Wlnsvey Campos; Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran; and gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek.
In the upcoming contract, Providence nurses want to see staffing ratios, adequate breaks, health insurance costs in line with comparable institutions, and adequate pay increases across the three-year contract.
“We’re hoping this show of solidarity today will be a turning point, but we’re keeping our options open and nurses are prepared to take this as far as it needs to go,” said Jamie Aguilar, a union leader and nurse at Providence home health. Besides St. Vincent, contracts are expired at Providence Willamette Falls and Providence Hood River, and four more contracts will be expiring throughout 2022.
Two days after the rally, the St. Vincent bargaining team met for another round of negotiations, but Providence management did not increase its wage offer from the last session. Providence is currently offering a 9.3% raise in the first year of the contract, 2.5% in the second (with an additional 0.5% halfway through the year) and 2.5% in the third.