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Kaiser Workers and Patients Picket at Sunnyside Medical Center Demanding Safe Staffing

On January 13th, around 200 OFNHP members, community supporters, and patients picketed outside of Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center to demand a change. "The employer LOVES it when we are divided, because it means we are weak, and when we are weak, we lose sight of the fact that we have a common cause and a common foe,” said Nicole Brun-Cottan, a physical therapist and leader in the Pro unit. “They take the trouble to do this because they are TERRIFIED of how strong we are when we step together?”

We also projected a message on the side of both Sunnyside and the Kaiser Permanente Building demanding an end to the staffing crisis.

After the December State of Emergency from the Oregon’s Governor’s office and increasing cases of flu and COVID infections over the holidays, our hospitals are being pushed past their breaking point. This picket was designed to raise the issue of short staffing and both demand that Kaiser bargain with its members over these acute conditions and to launch an organization-wide staffing campaign that will fight to eliminate the staffing crisis.

Union leaders and activists from Portland Jobs with Justice and the Democratic Socialists of America talked about the effect that short staffing is having on both staff and patients.

"Patients need to be cared for, but our members cannot just keep doing more and more and more while we're getting hurt,” said Joshua Holt, the RN Bargaining Chair. 

Our members are continuing this fight and are having a series of meetings to discuss how to build a campaign that unites all our members, how to build capacity and a base in our worksites, and how to bridge all our members in support of those who are bargaining at PeaceHealth this year.

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