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Friday, October 12, 2012

St. Charles and Nurses Come to Agreement

After a 36-hour marathon negotiation session, months of tense negotiations over a new three-year contract for nurses at St. Charles in Bend have drawn to a close.

Posted By on Fri, Oct 12, 2012 at 11:17 PM

After a 36-hour marathon negotiation session, months of tense negotiations over a new three-year contract for nurses at St. Charles in Bend have drawn to a close.

Contract negotations, which began in May, appeared at times to near complete breakdown. In September, nurses took to the streets to protest St. Charles proposals. Shortly thereafter, St. Charles hired a firm to assist in hiring temporary nurses should the union go on strike.

But the hospital and the local branch of the Oregon Nurses Association union announced Friday that they had reached a tentative agreement. 

Here’s an overview of that agreement:

  • Charge nurse positions will remain intact, though those nurses will focus more on working closely with patients and less on administrative duties, said Lisa Goodman, communications director for St. Charles.
  • The critical care float nurse positions will be cut through a pilot program, which will help determine whether those rapid response positions should be eliminated permanently, said hospital communications staff.  
  • Nurses will receive a two percent raise each year for the three-year term of the contract, according to a joint press release from the hospital and ONA.
  • Nurses accepted changes to their healthcare options, which were requested by the hospital, said a spokesperson for ONA.  

Though the agreement must still be ratified by the nursing union, representatives from the union and the hospital said both sides were pleased with the outcome.

“This offer is fully recommended by the ONA bargaining team,” said Alison Hamway, labor representative for the ONA in Bend in the press release sent Friday. “We believe it is a fair contract that does much to support our nurses and enhance patient care in Bend.”


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