Oregon Nurses Assn.
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News Releases
ONA Statement on OFNHP's Kaiser Strike Vote - 10/11/21

The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) supports our colleagues at the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (OFNHP) who are fighting for safe staffing and quality patient care at Kaiser Permanente facilities. The results of their strike vote are unprecedented, with 96% voting in favor of staging a strike; a clear and unequivocal message that Kaiser administration must settle on a fair contract and listen to the voices of their frontline healthcare workers. 

In a recent survey, more than 42% of Kaiser’s nurses and other healthcare professionals indicated they are considering leaving the healthcare workforce because of the treatment they have received at Kaiser. These numbers support ONA’s position that Oregon’s healthcare system is facing an existential crisis; one that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic but which was caused by decades of failures by hospital systems like Kaiser.

OFNHP’s members are joined by tens of thousands of other workers who are part of the 21-union Alliance of Health Care Unions, many of which have now authorized strikes as well. Across five states, over 40,000 of the 52,000 workers in the Alliance have local contracts allowing them to strike (38,000 were able to strike as of October 1, with another 2,000 able to strike November 1). 

The primary issue for OFNHP’s members is safe staffing. Again, Oregonians must listen to the concerns of nurses and other healthcare workers who have been saying for years that staffing must be a priority or we will see a worsening of already crisis-level problems across the state.  

OFNHP and ONA are in 100% agreement: health care systems like Kaiser must do more to address safe staffing. This is a crisis they caused and Kaiser's failure to reach an agreement is putting even more pressure on an already overstressed nursing workforce. 

It is time for Kaiser to put patients before profits and settle a fair contract. 

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The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) is the state’s largest and most influential nursing organization. We are a professional association and labor union which represents 15,000 nurses and allied health workers throughout the state. Our mission is to advocate for nursing, quality health care and healthy communities. For more information visit: www.OregonRN.org. 

MEDIA ADVISORY: Oregon Nurses to Hold Press Availability on Nurse Staffing Crisis, Oct. 7 - 10/06/21

Virtual press conference scheduled for 10 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 7

Nurse leaders and staff from the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA), the state's largest and most influential nursing organization and labor union, will hold a press conference Thursday, Oct. 7 at 10 a.m. to present bold, ambitious new policy proposals to address Oregon's ongoing nurse staffing crisis. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted decades of failures on the part of hospitals and health systems and new policies must be implemented if Oregon is to recover from these historic failures and rebuild a health care system Oregonians can be proud of.  

Speakers will include ONA elected officials, frontline nurses and ONA staff. 

Media members must RSVP by 9 a.m. Oct. 7 by emailing News@OregonRN.org

A link with log-in information will be provided for credentialed media members to join the virtual press conference, record the video feed and ask questions.

The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) is the state’s largest and most influential nursing organization. We are a professional association and labor union which represents 15,000 nurses and allied health workers throughout the state. ONA’s mission is to advocate for nursing, quality health care and healthy communities. For more information visit: www.OregonRN.org.
 

ONA: Legacy Exacerbates Staffing Crisis with Blanket Vaccine Exemption Rejections - 09/28/21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 28, 2021

(PORTLAND, Ore.) – Governor Kate Brown’s August COVID-19 vaccination mandate included common sense exemptions, as most other vaccination requirements have done, for medical reasons or for deeply held religious beliefs. Across the state, Oregon’s registered nurses have a high rate of vaccination (over 80%). However, it is also true that a small number of nurses have legitimate reasons for filing exemption requests. ONA believes that hospital systems must take these exemption requests seriously, as required by state and federal law.

At a time when hospitals are experiencing a serious staffing shortage it is crucial that health care systems do whatever is necessary to facilitate vaccination mandates while, at the same time, provide accommodation for those nurses and other staff who have received an exemption. 

Losing even a single nurse from our already strained health care system will simply make a bad situation worse. 
For example, nurses in the labor and delivery department at Legacy Silverton Hospital report that every religious exemption request, and a number of medical exemption requests, have been denied. We are told that 18 nurses, nearly half of the nursing staff in that department, are facing termination. ONA is seeing similar reports from other Legacy Silverton Hospital units, and we are hearing deep concern from nurses at Legacy facilities (not represented by ONA) in the Portland area.

Oregon’s vaccine mandate allows for medical and deeply held religious belief exemptions and blanket rejections are not only bad policy, but they also deepen staffing crises at hospitals across the state and ultimately impact quality of patient care.

Now is not the time for hospital systems like Legacy to play fast and loose with the legally required vaccination exemption process. 

ONA continues to work with our members across the state on a case by case, and unit by unit, basis to address nurse concerns and enforce our contracts. We encourage any nurse with concerns about a rejected exemption request to contact Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries, online at www.oregon.gov/BOLI, to submit a complaint. 

The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) is Oregon's largest and most influential nursing organization. We are a professional association and labor union which represents 15,000 nurses and allied health workers throughout the state. Our mission is to advocate for nursing, quality health care and healthy communities. For more information visit: www.OregonRN.org.