Oregon nurses & Providence gear up for largest strike in state history

MEDFORD, Ore. — More than 3,000 nurses across six different northwest Providence health facilities including Medford plan to strike on Tuesday. Nurses say they want safe staffing protections and other critical patient safety issues included in their contracts.

“It’s really important to us safe staffing is essential to safe patient care,” said RN Caroline Allison.

They claim current conditions push healthcare workers to do more with less, putting patient lives at stake. The strike begins at 6 a.m. Tuesday after a 10-day notice was given by the Oregon Nurses Association and negotiations stopped between the two sides.

“When we handed in our 10-day notice that we were gonna strike we said look we’re available anytime any place. We want to get this contract settled. We don’t want to strike. We do not want to strike. We want this contract settled,” said Allison.

Providence CEO, Chris Pizzi, says they did not have the personnel to continue bargaining while preparing for the strike.

“The people that are on our bargaining team are the same nurses, nurse leaders that are also gonna be working on the transition. We would rather not have this and this is why we delivered that proposal on June 7th to prevent this from happening,” said Pizzi.

With the strike set to begin Tuesday morning, Providence says they on-boarded replacement nurses Monday.

Over the weekend, security fences were also installed at the corner of McAndrews and Crater Lake Avenue, where an informational picket was previously held. Pizzi says it’s to ensure access to the hospital isn’t impeded for hospital goers.

Providence says despite the strike it will continue to provide safe care for its patients.

“No disruption in emergency care, surgeries, procedures, we’re fully staffed and we’ll continue to provide exceptional care for our community,” Pizzi said.

Organizers say more than 3,000 nurses and providers are expected to be joining the strike Tuesday. Providence says they look forward to welcoming them back when contracts are settled.

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Jenna King is the 6pm anchor and our Feature Reporter at 10pm and 11pm for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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