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PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) — Nurses at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center overwhelmingly voted to approve a new contract on Friday, July 15.

According to the Oregon Nurses Association, “The two-year agreement protects Oregonians by improving patient care and raising safe staffing standards, helps keep health care affordable for workers and their families and begins to address Providence’s nurse staffing crisis.” 

The ONA highlighted the following contract provisions in he new contract: 

  • Raises nurse staffing standards by creating a ‘break nurse’ pilot program to ensure patients receive care quickly and reduce nurse burnout; incorporates Oregon’s nurse staffing law into the contract; and requires Providence to meet mutually-agreed upon safe staffing standards. 
  • Improves patient care by limiting floating between hospital departments to ensure every patient receives treatment from nurses trained to meet their unique needs.
  • Improves hospital safety and prevents COVID-19 infections and outbreaks by increasing frontline workers’ access to appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). 
  • Keeps health care affordable by capping health care costs and creating accountability for rising health care prices by freezing health insurance deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket costs and limiting premium increases for frontline nurses and their families; and establishes a Providence system-wide health insurance task force to reduce insurance costs and improve care for all workers. 
  • Helps recruit and retain skilled frontline nurses during a staffing crisis by increasing wages up to 16.5% over the next two years to keep pace with competitors during the national nursing shortage. 

ONA represents 1,600 frontline nurses working at Providence St. Vincent and more than 4,000 frontline nurses working in 10 Providence Health System facilities across Oregon, including nurses at Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center in Oregon City, who voted to ratify their own contract July 11, and nurses at Providence Milwaukie Hospital, who are holding their contract ratification vote starting July 20. 

Providence St. Joseph Health is the third-largest health system in the US and one of the largest companies in Oregon with tens of billions in annual revenue. The ONA a professional association and labor union which represents more than 15,000 nurses and allied health workers throughout the state, including more than 4,000 nurses working at 10 Providence Oregon health care facilities throughout the state.