Nurses strike continues on day three at Providence Seaside

SEASIDE, Ore. (KGW) — Nurses and clinicians walked the picket line Wednesday outside Providence Seaside Hospital. The honks coming from passing vehicles were a sign of the love the coastal community showed for the staffers on day three of a five-day strike.

“The support has been amazing from the community,” Ingrid Boettcher said. “Amazing.”

Boettcher handles triage and wound care at Providence Seaside. She is one of approximately 1,800 nurses and clinicians from that hospital, Providence Portland Medical Center, and Providence Home and Hospice who walked off the job Monday.

“We want to be in there, and some of our wound care patients drove by today and said we’re going to need you next week,” Boettcher said.

“We are really a family here,” Roxanne Welch added.

Welch is another nurse on the picket line outside Providence Seaside, a hospital she has called home for nearly two decades.

“19.5 years here and I want everyone to have parity and equal opportunity at the hospital, which the clinic nurses don’t have,” Welch said.

Welch and her colleagues want higher wages and better benefits. Providence officials say they have offered that in the form of additional hours of paid time off and a 12% raise, but judging by a caravan through the streets of Seaside, nurses and clinicians are not pleased. People on the street are not either.

“I don’t think they get paid enough,” Tammy Hampton said.

Hampton is a resident of Nehalem. She hopes the men and women on strike get what they want and return to work. The last thing Hampton wants is another strike that would impact the hospital closest to her.

“I don’t want to drive 30 or 50 miles to go to one, so it’s just one of those things,” Hampton said.

Providence officials argue that even though the hospital in Seaside is operating at only 50% capacity, all is good. The replacement nurses brought in by Providence may be responsible for that. Regardless, those on the picket line are eager to get back to work.

“We are going to go back Monday and do what we do best,” Boettcher said. “Be nurses.”

The five-day strike is slated to end after Friday.

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