Home care nurse strike delayed due to concerns for patient care

SPRINGFIELD – PeaceHealth home care nurses have delayed their strike from Feb. 1-14 to Feb. 10-24 due to concerns that PeaceHealth may not be adequately prepared to care for these nurses’ patients.

“Frankly, we have no confidence in PeaceHealth executives’ ability to provide safe care for patients by Feb. 1,” said Jo Turner, an ONA member and hospice nurse at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Home Care Services. “To best support local patients and their families, we’ve made the difficult decision to change our strike dates to Feb. 10-24.”

PeaceHealth officials provided a different grasp on the situation, mentioning an issue regarding ONA nurses maintaining their benefits while on strike. According to them, PeaceHealth’s employment policy states that benefits expire on the last day of the month in which someone works. For example, if one of the home care nurses’ last day was Jan. 31, their benefits would expire on that same day.

“After notifying the ONA that their initial strike date of Feb. 1 would cause a lapse in benefits for their members, the union pulled their initial notice and filed for the new strike date of Feb. 10,” PeaceHealth wrote in a statement. “PeaceHealth notified the union of their oversight to prevent our caregivers from unnecessarily losing their health benefits due to the strike timing.”

Kevin Mealy, ONA spokesperson, wrote that nurses considered the factor of maintaining health insurance coverage alongside the consideration of PeaceHealth’s ability to provide sufficient care to their patients.

“PeaceHealth has a bad reputation for threatening its own workers’ health care,” Mealy wrote. “While nurses are deeply disappointed PeaceHealth threatened to terminate health insurance for local nurses and their families at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Home Care Services, we were not surprised. We were surprised by their interpretation of the employment status of nurses on strike and don’t agree with their position.”

The strike will begin with a kickoff rally outside the PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Home Care Services office at 123 International Way in Springfield on Feb. 10 at 10 a.m., and PeaceHealth officials emphasized that the new strike dates will not result in a loss of benefits.



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