- Oregon Nurses Association
- Local nurses hold a signed petition encouraging St. Charles to work with nurses to reach a fair contract agreement that improves patient care and insures safe staffing standards during a rally in Sept. 2018. After more than seven months of negotiations, nurses and St. Charles administrators reached a tentative agreement on a new contract to improve patient care on Jan. 12, 2019.
“This agreement is a win for our community’s health,” David Hilderbrand, ONA bargaining unit chair and registered nurse said in a press release. “I’m very proud of nurses and hospital administrators who came together to reach an agreement that puts patients first and gives us new tools to address shared concerns like staffing and practice standards. We have more work to do, but this is a promising step in our shared efforts to make sure high-quality, affordable health care is available to everyone in Central Oregon.”
“We want to thank the members of both bargaining teams for the months they have spent working toward a fair contract,” Debbie Robinson, chief nursing officer for St. Charles Bend said in a press release. “We greatly appreciate the dedication and commitment to our patients and community. We are thrilled to have reached a conclusion that both sides feel good about and are ready to move forward and focus on what we do best—providing safe, quality patient care.”
According to the ONA, the tentative agreement does the following: it improves patient care by limiting floating between hospital departments, ensuring every patient is treated by nurses trained to meet their specific needs. The new shared governance model will allow direct-care nurses and managers to work together to quickly address practice concerns. The contract will offer variable cost-of-living increases to provide financial flexibility for the hospital while helping recruit and retain nurses. The ONA said the increases will be based in part on the consumer price index and range between 2 and 4 percent per year.
As part of the tentative agreement, the nurses have agreed to cancel the informational picket that was scheduled for Jan. 21, the ONA said.
The contract must be ratified by a majority of the over 900 nurses represented within the bargaining unit before it’s implemented, St. Charles said. Until it’s ratified, the nurses will continue working under the existing contract language.
The ONA said the local nurse negotiating team is recommending a “yes” vote on the contract agreement. If approved, the new agreement will be effective immediately and run through December 31, 2022, according to the ONA.
“I’m proud of both negotiating teams for continuing to come back to the table and doing the hard work that led to this agreement,” Aaron Adams, president for St. Charles Bend said in the release. “The teams came together and reached terms that both parties felt were fair. We are pleased with the result and look forward to the next four-and-a-half years of stability the agreement provides for our organization.”