Jun 23, 2023 - News

Providence nurses strike wraps up

Nurses in green t-shirts hold strike signs and wave at passing cars.

Nurses on the picket line outside Providence Portland Medical Center Thursday. Photo: Emily Harris/Axios

Providence nurses will end their five-day strike Friday at 7pm — and some who've been on the picket line all week will be back caring for patients by 7am Saturday.

Details: Providence brought in managers from its facilities outside Oregon, canceled surgeries and hired replacement workers to cover shifts during the strike. Jennifer Gentry, chief nursing officer for Providence's central division, told reporters yesterday that the Providence Portland Medical Center on NE Glisan was running at about 75% capacity.

  • Nurses told Axios they limited the strike to five days since they aren't paid while they're striking, and they wanted to keep the hospital's contracts with replacement workers to a short, defined period.

What they're saying: "We've been so hunkered down, making patient care happen under the worst conditions for the last three years," Katie Luers, a registered nurse on the picket line, told Axios. "It's so team-building to be out here with my colleagues."

The other side: "I think the strike has been very disruptive and emotional and expensive for all parties involved," Providence's Gentry said.

The bottom line: Nurses want more staff and less turnover, and higher pay is part of that, they say.

  • Nurses at Providence's St. Vincent Medical Center in NW Portland accepted a deal earlier this month that averted a strike there — a deal nurses now on the picket line told Axios they'd accept.

What's next: Providence says their last pre-strike offer for the nurses who walked off the job is off the table.

  • Both sides expect talks to resume, though no date has been made public. If no agreement is reached, Providence nurses could strike again.
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