Nurses to Picket PeaceHealth Peace Harbor Medical Center
FLORENCE, Ore. – On April 20, registered nurses at PeaceHealth Peace Harbor Medical Center overwhelmingly voted to authorize an informational picket following an unsuccessful contract mediation session with PeaceHealth’s corporate administrators earlier this month.
Despite significant efforts by nurses and the help of a federal mediator, PeaceHealth’s corporate administrators made limited concessions and refused to make meaningful progress on a fair contract that addresses nurses’ primary community health concerns; including ending excessive call requirements, correcting below-market wages and increasing patient and staff safety.
The 75 nurses at PeaceHealth Peace Harbor Medical Center are represented by the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA).
“We can’t have a great hospital without great nurses,” said ONA bargaining unit team member and medical surgical nurse at Peace Harbor Judy Thibault, RN. “We’re struggling to recruit and retain the nurses Florence needs to keep providing high-quality health care. We need PeaceHealth to listen to our community and take action on a new contract that will help us attract and keep the caregivers we need on the coast.”
After months of unsuccessful negotiations between local nurses and PeaceHealth’s corporate administrators, nurses held a public meeting at the Florence Senior Center April 4 to share their concerns about hospital staffing, security and health care provider recruitment.
More than 100 community members attended the event to talk with local nurses and offer their support to help nurses win a fair contract that increases hospital security for nurses and patients, reduces heavy call workloads for hospital staff and offers competitive wages and benefits to help attract and retain skilled nurses.
“We appreciate the support we’ve received from people up and down the coast and throughout Lane County,” said ONA member and emergency department nurse at Peace Harbor Toby Knight-Meigs, RN. “It’s clear our community recognizes the vital role nurses play in keeping our friends and family members healthy.”
Community members and supporters are invited to join nurses at the informational picket Monday, May 1 at the intersection of US 101 and Oregon Route 126 in Florence from 8 to 10 a.m., noon to 2 p.m., and 4 to 6 p.m.
An informational picket gives the community another opportunity to engage with nurses and educate themselves about important local health care issues. It is not a strike or a work stoppage. ONA nurses will be working at the hospital during the informational picket to ensure patients continue to receive the award-winning health care they expect from their local nurses.
Since contract bargaining began between nurses and PeaceHealth in November 2016, nurses have volunteered more than 600 hours to help reach a fair contract agreement. Nurses and PeaceHealth’s corporate administrators are scheduled to meet with a federal mediator again on April 26 to try to reach a agreement that prioritizes patient safety and helps attract and keep registered nurses in Florence.
ONA was founded in 1904 as the professional association for nurses in Oregon. It is a nonprofit association and labor union which represents more than 14,000 nurses statewide. ONA’s mission is to advocate for nursing, quality health care and healthy communities. For more information visit www.OregonRN.org.