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Providence Hood River Nurses Vote to Authorize Informational Picketing

On Wednesday, September 7, 2011, Oregon Nurses Association members at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital voted overwhelmingly to authorize informational picketing against Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital, if bargaining does not progress on Monday, September 12.

At issue is wages and health insurance. "At this point all we are asking for is wage increases like they have offered the rest of their nurses employed in the Portland metro area and to have the health insurance benefits like they have offered to nurses in the Portland metro area but to have them described in our contract in writing --that is it.” said Elese Sewell a long time ER Nurse and chair of the bargaining team.

"They want us to accept very low wage offers and they want us to agree that they can do whatever they want to our health insurance benefits,” said Sewell further.

Rob Nosse with the Oregon Nurses Association and the chief spokesperson for the nurses had this to say. "Are they kidding? In this day in age we would not have benefits described in detail for every year of the contract. Really? These nurses see what happens to people in their community all the time where their benefits are eroded or bad. Why would we agree to allow Providence to do whatever it wants to our insurance? All we want is what Providence has already agreed to offer their nurses who work in Portland?”

The nurses at Providence Hood River hope it will not come to informational picketing, as the nurses and management here at the local facility have always gotten along and worked things out.

"It really feels like Portland is calling the shots and trying to make this harder than it needs to be,” said Elese Sewell.

No one can remember the last time this kind of action has been contemplated in Hood River. The nurses have been a part of ONA since the 1980s.

Bargaining resumes on September 12.

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