PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Following more than a month of negotiations, frontline nurses will vote to either ratify a tentative agreement with Providence St. Vincent Medical Center or continue with strike efforts on Thursday. As those nurses continue to cast their votes, more local healthcare workers have joined in their demand fair contracts.
The nurses’ union told KOIN 6 News voting will close at 9 a.m. Friday and could receive the results from the ratification vote as early as 1 p.m. Thursday.

This was the first of three strike votes authorized against local Portland-area Providence hospitals within just a month, citing unfair labor practices and below market compensation — issues echoed on Wednesday by workers at the Hillsboro Medical Center.

Chanting “1.5 won’t keep us alive” a group of nearly 100 hospital staff held a workers rally outside of the OHSU Hillsboro Medical Center, formerly known as Tuality Health, Wednesday afternoon.

Among their demands of the hospital, workers say they are fighting for better wages, benefits, and increased staffing.

While the workers say they have not yet agreed to strike, they told KOIN 6 News the possibility is not off the table if an agreement is not reached within their next two bargaining sessions this week.

As the latest group of local healthcare workers to demand more from hospitals, the staff says they believe there is power in numbers.  

“Having that show of force, having multiple organizations say we’re not going to take this and we’re gonna fight for what we deserve…that helps admins see if we don’t at least meet them in some respect we won’t have employees to do the work,” Hillsboro Medical Center worker Monisha Bunday said.

This rally comes just one day before nurses at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center are poised to ratify a vote on their tentative agreement with the hospital on Thursday.

Providence released the following statement to KOIN 6 News which reads in part, “we’ve reached tentative agreement with ONA on a comprehensive package that addresses the important issues raised at the bargaining table…We look forward to a ratified contract to get our valued nurses the wage increases and contract enhancements they deserve.”

In response to Wednesday night’s rally, the Hillsboro Medical Center said they are currently working to finalize a strong compensation package for their employees which includes the union’s proposals and they look forward to collaborating on that package in the days to come.