Ground work for ONA becoming the State’s largest health-care union was laid in 1959 when nurse leaders sought to change State law so nurses could collectively negotiate contracts with employers. Two years later, HB 1360 was passed, a bill that gave Oregon nurses the right to become part of a union. In 1962, ONA settled its first collective-bargaining agreement with Providence Hospital, now Providence Portland Medical Center.
ONA currently represents over 12,000 nurses at close to 50 bargaining units located throughout the State. The contracts ONA nurses obtain raise the bar for wages, benefits, and other conditions of employment for all nurses. More importantly, the contracts give nurses a voice in the workplace to address patient care and safety. Our over a century worth of experience as a professional association with our fifty years of experience as a union make ONA uniquely capable of addressing all nursing issues and concerns.
Education and Trainings
Some of the trainings and conferences ONA offers are listed below. If you are interested in having a training offered at your unit, please contact your labor representative:
- Steward training- training covers how to uphold the terms of the contract and represent co-workers in grievances against the hospital.
- Negotiation Strategy- training for negotiating-team members on how to prepare for and then negotiate a contract with your employer.
- Staffing Committee- trainings for nurse staffing committee members on how to develop and maintain a staffing plan that accounts for the acuity of the patients.
- Bargaining-Unit Leader Forum- conference for bargain-unit leaders that allows them to share issues and set the direction of ONA.
Benefits of Unionization
Nurses who have joined ONA see immediate positive impacts in their workplace in a variety of areas:
- Wages- Nurses who join ONA successfully negotiate substantial wage increases. At the conclusion of one organizing campaign, nurses obtained a 25% wage increase, bringing them in line with other area hospitals.
- Retention and Recruitment- Organized bargaining units often end the slow erosion of experienced nurses leaving the hospital because of poor working conditions. In addition, those same hospitals become attractive to new nurses seeking jobs who before stayed clear.
- Voice in the workplace- Whether the issue is lower than market wages, high health insurance premiums, unsafe staffing, mandatory overtime, or excessive furloughs, nurses that organize are able to work together to make incremental improvements through contract negotiations, labor-management committees, and concerted activities.
- See other E&GW Accomplishments throughout the years
Your rights as a union member
Being a member of ONA gives you rights that you would not otherwise enjoy unless you were part of a union.
- A contract with your employer- One right is the ability to get your employer to adhere to a negotiated contract that sets the terms on a variety of topics, including wages, overtime, health care, layoffs, and staffing.
- Grievance process- All of ONA’s contracts allow nurses to grieve alleged violations of the contract, giving you recourse when your employer unilaterally changes your working conditions.
- Collectively improving your workplace-Another right is the ability to positively change your working conditions in conjunction with your fellow nurses on issues such as staffing levels, workplace safety, and practice standards.
- Representation- ONA nurses enjoy the right to be represented when they are subjected to retaliation, discrimination, or baseless disciplinary actions.
- Click here for more details on Your Rights!