PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Nurses at two more Providence hospitals are launching strike votes on Monday alleging unfair labor practices and demanding fair contracts.

The 472 frontline nurses at Providence Willamette Falls and Providence Milwaukie are represented by the Oregon Nurses Association. The strike votes begin Monday and last through June 2, ONA officials said. If the strikes are approved these nurses would join the 1600 nurses who voted to strike at Providence St. Vincent earlier in May.

The announcement comes less than a month after nurses at Providence St. Vincent’s Medical Center passed a nearly unanimous vote to authorize a strike against the hospital — citing unfair labor practices and compensation.

Echoing similar concerns, nurses from all three Portland-area hospitals attended Monday’s press conference.

Resource Nurse at Providence Milwaukie Hospital, Peggy Elia said their recent requests were made with the care of patients in mind, telling KOIN 6 News the nurses have united in their fight for change.

“We’re in an environment where a billion-dollar corporation is making the decisions for our nurses,” Elia stated. “Our patients and our nurses want to have a voice in the safety and care of our patients.”

The current contract at Providence Milwaukie is due to expire this month, while the contract at Providence Willamette Falls expired in 2021, ONA said.

Among the list of contract proposals, the Providence nurses want stronger patient safety standards, more nurse staffing, affordable health care and a fair compensation package that allows hospitals to “recruit and retain” more nurse staff.

Gina Ottinger has been a nurse at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center for 14 years. She said during that time she has watched nurses receive less and less as the cost of living continues to rise

“I hope that they can come to the table, and we can come to an agreement -But if they don’t, there is that risk,” Ottinger said. “And really the bottom line is patient safety. I am here because I don’t feel safe currently with what we’re doing.” 

According to Ottinger, an emergency charge nurse, the fight to retain nurses at the hospital has never meant more – as her daughter recently chose to follow in her footsteps.

“My daughter just finished nursing school and she did take a job at St. Vincent,” Ottinger said. “I am wanting to advocate for her and every nurse coming from behind her. This is about the future of nursing here at Providence and that is something I am passionate about.”

Providence executives would not go into specifics surrounding safety concerns, but a spokesperson said both hospitals have now offered contract enhancements including wage increases above 6%.

Claiming the hospital only met with ONA for three bargaining negotiations before the nurses chose to move forward with the strike vote, in a statement to KOIN 6 News Providence Milwaukie called the decision “disappointing and premature.”

“Talking is better than walking at the end of the day,” said Providence Milwaukie Hospital Chief Executive, Victor Carrasco. “That’s our stance and that’s really what we want to focus on. We want to have a meaningful, thoughtful conversation with ONA on this specific issue and try to resolve this before it gets to a strike.”

The results of the strike vote will be announced June 3, officials said. But even if the vote is to strike, that doesn’t mean the nurses will walk out that day.

The next step would be to set potential strike dates and give Providence a 10-day notice of their intent to strike.

A series of bargaining sessions are already scheduled. Providence Willamette Falls will bargain with management on May 25 and June 3, while Providence Milwaukie will do the same on May 26, June 16 and June 23.

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.