On April 27th the nurses and healthcare professionals at the Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center’s Emergency Department will be joining an informational picket to raise the issues of staffing ratios, departmental changes, and patient care. These workers are members of the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (OFNHP), and are asking that management address many of the concerns that they fear could interfere with their ability to provide patient care.
“We know that when nurses and healthcare professionals have a say in how care is provided, and when we maintain safe staffing levels, we can provide excellent care,” says Mindy Schiebler, a Registered Nurse at Sunnyside. “We want management to meet with us and address these concerns so we can focus on what we do best: providing life saving care to patients.”
Kaiser Permanente and the union employees have a partnership agreement that allows them to work collaboratively on solving problems. The employees are now asking that Kaiser management work in partnership and include their voice into the decision making process. They have issued recommendations to management, which includes reforming the scheduling process, creating equitable assignments, and addressing staff retention. Right now the conditions in the Emergency Department has left them with an approximate 60% turnover rate, which impacts patient care because there is less continuity in experience for staff.
This informational picket comes at the same time as OFNHP members begin bargaining with Kaiser, both at the local level and nationally through the Alliance of Healthcare Unions. OFNHP recently won a historic contract for the medical professionals at St. Charles in Bend, securing 25% raises after a nine-day strike that brought unions, community members, and political leaders together in support of the union.
The informational picket will be held on April 27th at Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center during the following times: 7:00am-8:30am; 11:00am-1:00pm; 4:30pm-6:30pm. Members will be available for interviews at that time.