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Providence nurses begin strike in Portland, Seaside

<i>KPTV</i><br/>Around 1
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By KPTV Staff

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    PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) — After a week of unsuccessful bargaining between the Oregon Nurses Association and Providence Medical Group, around 1,800 nurses and clinicians began a strike early Monday morning.

The strike began at 5:30 a.m., when nurses and clinicians working at Providence Portland Medical Center left the building. At 7 a.m., nurses with Providence Home Health & Hospice and Providence Seaside will join the strike.

ONA said the strike follows their failure to reach an agreement with Providence for “fair contracts that will recruit new staff, retain experienced nurses and clinicians, and honor members’ commitment to patients and their communities with safe patient care standards and a competitive wage and benefits package.”

ONA also urged patients and community members to not delay seeking medical care during the strike.

“Patients should seek hospital care immediately if they need it,” ONA said in a statement Sunday. “We would rather be the ones providing that care, but Providence management have forced our hand and we find ourselves on the picket line advocating for you, our communities, and our colleagues. Going into the hospital to get the care you need is NOT crossing our strike line. In fact, we invite you to come join us on the strike line after you’ve gotten the care you need.”

Jennifer Gentry, speaking for Providence, said they have replacement nurses at the hospital and nursing locations who are ready and prepared to take care of their patients.

“We really want to get a message out to our community that if there is an emergency, we’re here for them and can take care of them, but if it’s something that can wait or they can go to a different hospital for, we ask that they do so,” Gentry said.

Molly Burtchaell, a labor and delivery nurse at Providence Portland, spoke to FOX 12 on behalf of ONA.

“I’m really disappointed, we really wanted to avoid this. We wanted Providence to hear us and to help us get a fair contract without having to walk out,” Burtchaell said. “None of the nurses, none of the clinicians want to be out on the street. We want to be taking care of our patients.”

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