PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On day 17 of the Oregon Senate Republican walkout, nurses across the state have called out lawmakers for impeding progress on a bill that would improve working conditions in hospitals.
The Oregon Nurses Association, a union that represents over 12,000 nurses statewide, reported that 27.1% of active nurses resigned from their positions in 2022 — and more than a third of the remaining nurses planned to do so this year.
On Thursday afternoon, the nurses’ union released a statement on the Republican-led walkout. According to the statement, the senators’ refusal to return to work threatens progress on House Bill 2697.
ONA describes HB 2697 as the union’s “landmark safe staffing bill.” The measure would require hospitals to implement nurse-to-patient ratios and form staffing committees to address the nursing shortage crisis.
“This hospital staffing package would not only improve patient care during a time when Oregonians are deeply concerned about the quality of their health care services but would also address decades-long concerns related to working conditions for nurses, recruitment of new nurses to the field, and retention of our state’s existing nursing workforce,” ONA said.
The union says HB 2697 has both bipartisan and bicameral support, but it could die if the walkout doesn’t end soon.
The nurse staffing bill is just one that has been thwarted by the ongoing walkout. HB 2002, which would extend reproductive rights and gender-affirming health care, and HB 2005, which would advance gun control, are also on the Senate floor.
Oregon Republican Senate Leader Tim Knopp told KOIN 6 News that Republican Senators have plans to return to work on Sunday, June 25, the constitutionally-mandated end of the legislative session.