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Vote NO on the Providence St. Vincent sellout contract! Build rank-and-file committees to fight for safe staffing, good wages and benefits!

Are you a nurse at Providence St. Vincent? Let us know what you think about the contract and what health care workers should be fighting for. Please also register for the upcoming Health Care Workers Rank-and-File Committee meeting this coming Sunday, June 26, at 11:00 am Pacific Time.

Nurses at the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center outside of Portland, Oregon, will be voting on a tentative agreement from Monday through Thursday, June 20-23. The proposal was brought to the hospital’s 1,600 nurses by the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA), which endorsed the deal that would worsen cuts to real wages, erode benefits and maintain dangerous understaffing and unbearable working conditions.

Nurses have already begun to speak out, calling for an overwhelming “No” vote against the contract. The WSWS recently published a powerful statement from a Providence St. Vincent nurse calling on her colleagues to reject this pro-company deal.

the World Socialist Web Site Health Care Workers Newsletter also urges nurses to vote “No.” As important as this is, however, this must only be the beginning. The campaign to defeat this deal should be combined with the building of an independent rank-and-file committee, made up of the most militant and class-conscious nurses, to outline and fight for the demands that Providence St. Vincent workers and their families need.

The entire field of nursing is under attack. Providence nurses must unite with other health care workers in the region and join the growing international movement of health care workers. Across the US and across the world, health care workers are fighting low pay, understaffing and the subordination of human life to corporate profit, which has proven so disastrous by the pandemic.

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett (Wikimedia Commons)

One Providence nurse described to the WSWS the agreement the ONA has put before workers as “horrible.” There is no provision for retroactive pay, which has been included in all past contracts, and no funds for nurses’ continuing education as they keep up to date with the latest medical advances. There are only meager increases in paid time off, which is necessary for nurses to recover from physically and mentally taxing work schedules. She said, “The tentative agreement doesn’t address health care costs, lower deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. In fact, the tentative agreement specifically states that Providence can raise our health insurance premiums by approximately 7 percent in 2023 and by 8 percent in 2024.”

Another nurse commented, “Everybody is very angry about the fact that this was even brought to us and [that the ONA] recommended that we accept it.”

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