CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Nurses at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis picketed for increased staffing and safer working conditions on Friday.
The Oregon Nurses Association, which represents over 500 nurses at Good Samaritan, says the hospital is overworking and understaffing their hospital. Since April, the nurse’s union and the hospital have been attempting to create a new contract but they have failed thus far. As a result, nurses have been working without a contract since June 30.
Jacqueline Dillon, a nurse at Good Samaritan, said she wanted to help her colleagues fight for a better contract.
“I care about my co-workers. I care about the nurses and the other staff here that work at the hospital, and I care about our community and patients that come here, and I really just really care about all of that,” Dillon said. “I think that the stuff we are asking for and going for in our contract will absolutely help all of those people.”
The hospital said in a statement that it is “committed to reach an agreement that can be ratified as soon as possible for the benefit of our staff and patients.”
However, the nurses union doesn’t see it that way. They said the hospital will not listen to what they want in their contracts. Some of those items include reducing the mandatory call hours as well as keeping nurses working at 40 hours a week. They also want to see the end of the "buddy system” which forces nurses to take on twice as many patients.
In a statement, the hospital argues it already caps the work week at 40 hours for nurses while giving them the option to pick up more shifts. They said they are actively recruiting more staff members to meet the community's needs.
Both the hospital and Dillon agree that they just want the best hospital for their community.
“We want this hospital to be a great hospital and a place where the community likes to go and feels comfortable going when they need hospital care. So that’s what we’re really looking for,” Dillon said.