Nurses out picketing again as three-day strike ends

MEDFORD, Ore. – A three-day-long strike at a Medford hospital has turned protest as nurses were turned away from work Friday morning.

The Oregon Nurses Association’s (ONA) strike at providence Medford ended at 6 o’clock Friday morning, with nurses attempting to go back to work.

“A group of about 25 nurses showed up to go check in for what they assumed were going to be shifts, and they found that, as we expected, providence has locked them out,” said ONA Chief of Staff, Scott Palmer.

And so… Nurses are out on the picket line again, protesting what they’re calling an illegal lockout.

Providence says the contract for the replacement workers brought on to fill strikers positions does not expire until Sunday.

“We’re doing exactly what we said we would do which is honor a five day replacement period contract. We were pretty clear with ONA and our nurses that we would uphold that agreement,” says Kate Kitchell, Chief Nursing Officer for Providence Medford.

Nurses on the picket line say communication from Providence about who would be scheduled after the strike was confusing. 

“The message that our nurses got was you’re not needed, we don’t care, come on back after five days. But then we got other communication that was unclear,” says one nurse.

Providence says the ONA knew the replacement contracts would last five days, and their regular nurses would be contacted if they were needed.

It said this is a publicity stunt to shame the hospital.

The ONA says its vital that nurses are allowed to get back to serving their community.

After days on the picket line, they say the support from the community has helped them keep going.

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NBC5 News reporter Kade Stirling was born and raised in Idaho. Kade graduated from the College of Southern Idaho with a degree in Digital Media. He started his broadcast career as a Master Control Operator at KMVT in Twin Falls, ID. He's a bookworm, Lego fanatic and an animal lover. As an outdoor enthusiast, Kade loves Southern Oregon. He spends his free time hiking with his fiancé and dog.
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