Oregon Nurses Strike: OHSU Board approves plan to cut 500+ jobs, slash health insurance

Oregon Nurses Strike: OHSU Board approves plan to cut 500+ jobs, slash health insurance

OHSU president Danny Jacobs discussed the layoff plans on June 6, 2024. The university is primarily eying its contract workforce and workers in research related programs. Quoting from President Jacob’s email, “Despite our efforts to increase our revenue, our financial condition requires some difficult choices about internal structures, workforce and programs to ensure that we achieve our state mandated missions and thrive over the long term.”

Before the layoffs were made, Sara Hottman, spokesman of OHSU, said in an interview, “OHSU cannot yet provide firm figures for the layoffs or cuts to benefits. Reductions in the fiscal year 2025 budget will be discussed on Friday, 28th of June, 2024 at the meeting of the school’s Finance and Audit Committee.

Reason for the layoffs

Reason for the layoffs as has been stated by the committee has been mainly the purchase decision of the Portland Health System Legacy Health. OHSU in order to strike the deal has shelved out a whopping sum of $1 billion. But this has been at the cost of laying off 550 plus people working in the facility. 

According to reports, if the deal is approved by state and federal regulators, it would create the biggest employer in Portland with an employee count reaching a number of 32000.

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Reaction from the staff of OHSU

After the acquisition and merger talks came up the Oregon Nurses Association expressed a partial optimism last year, saying the health system should focus on reaching a contract agreement with its nurses before making acquisitions. But since the layoffs were announced, OHSU employees have been fuming up and have asked how the university can afford to purchase Legacy Health by cutting the jobs of its own employees.

Around 142 employees have already received the pink slip and have been given the ultimatum that their contract wouldn’t be renewed. 

OHSU Authorities Defence regarding Layoffs

President Jacobs defended the layoffs by stating the OHSU plans to finance 30 year bonds to finance the acquisition. He added, “These capital dollars cannot be used to close gaps in our fiscal year 202 OHSU budget or to pay our members”, he wrote “Although we believe in expanding, OHSU’s overall footprint will help alleviate capacity issues and help us financially, budget projections for fiscal year 2025 and fiscal year 2026 requires us to make more challenging decisions”.

About Wrighter

Wrighter covers news across the global on Human Rights, Migrants Rights, and Labor Rights. Wrighter has vast experience in writing and is a doctor by profession.

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