Letter from Sacred Heart Nurses supports our organizing

Dear colleagues,

ONAAs nurses at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center, we are proud of our work and we love what we do. But Sacred Heart has changed. With reductions in staffing and “cost-saving” measures in recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to do our jobs and maintain the level of quality of care our patients deserve.

As corporations like PeaceHealth become more centralized, it is important that employees have the ability to stand together and hold them accountable – to us, to our patients and to our community. For over two years now, we have been working as a union to do just that. As members of the Oregon Nurses Association, we’ve raised our voices to advocate for improved staffing; for respect of our clinical judgement; for fairer wages and benefits; and for the resources we need to care for our patients.

We are conscious every day of the value of our union. From fair and consistent pay, to job security through layoff protections and grievance procedures, we know how important it is for front-line caregivers to have a seat at the table. We believe all caregivers should be able to focus on the job of caring, with the peace of mind a fair contract brings. We also believe all caregivers should feel safe raising concerns about their work – especially when it relates to the safety of care for our patients – without fear of retaliation. That’s why we formed a union in the first place, and that’s why our hospitalist colleagues formed a union last year.

Our decision several months ago to share our concerns about staffing with the community wasn’t one we took lightly. Like all of our fellow caregivers, we nurses often do everything we can to ensure our patients never even realize there are problems behind the scenes. As we deliberated over this decision, it was heartening to know that, whatever we decided, we would have the support of our union.

Once we decided to speak out, we were overwhelmed by support from our community, from our coworkers here at Sacred Heart, and from caregivers working in health care facilities across Oregon and across the nation. We believe all caregivers at Sacred Heart have a right to feel so safe and supported, which is why we support you in your effort to unionize. With caregivers at all levels united, we will have a chorus of voices that cannot be ignored.

In Solidarity,

Lynda Pond, RN, LDR
Nancy Deyhle, RN, ICU
Suzanne Seeley, RN, MBU
Kevyn Paul, RN, ED – UD
Karl Christman, RN, OR
Larry Wilt, RN, ICU
Matt Calzia, RN, ICU
Toré Murvin, RN, 8 Medical
Susan Walters, RN, Home Health
Beth Harvey, RN, Float Pool
Laura Lay, RN, MBU


“I was a CNA for almost 20 years. Back in the 90’s I worked for Peacehealth and it was a wonderful organization. I went to the midwest for 10 years, where I earned my RN degree and when I decided to move back to Oregon I was delighted to land a position at PeaceHealth, feeling that I was truly coming home. When I arrived, however, I was appalled at the deterioration of both working conditions and patient safety. I fully support unionizing. With united voices we can create change for the better. You, the community, and our patients deserve better.

Adrianne Elsey, RN, CCRN
Sacred Heart Riverbend